Wednesday, September 21, 2011

HP's long term thinking is stinking

Less than a year after hiring Léo Apotheker as its chief executive, Hewlett-Packard’s directors were meeting Wednesday to consider replacing him, according to several people with knowledge of the board’s actions. The leading candidate was Meg Whitman, the former chief executive of eBay, who was sought for her ability to run a large technology company, they said.
The surprise move revealed not only the confusion inside the company over its strategy, but also the directors’ difficulties in choosing the leadership of the company.
Honestly, what is wrong with that company? Or maybe the better question is what ISN'T wrong with that company?

About 15 months ago, HP had to get rid of their CEO due to a scandal. They brought in an Enterprise software guy who sat on his hands for a year. When he finally declared his intent to turn HP into a software company the board was taken by surprise? Say what? YOU HIRED THE GUY. Didn't you know what he was all about?

I admire that Apotheker made a bold move. I wish he had made it a year earlier. And I abhor the way he mad his move. He should have quietly put out feelers for selling webOS and HP's PC division and announced their sales simultaneously with announcing HP's change in strategy. But that's all water under the bridge now. If the HP board is truly looking for a new CEO then they're changing their strategy for the third time in less than a year and a half. It's like there's no one at the tiller in that company.

One of the things that I've always admired about Apple is that they are long term thinkers. They plan many, many years out and then bring that strategy back in order to dictate today's actions. Comparing them to master chess players is probably a pretty good analogy. They think 20 or so moves ahead. In contrast, many of their competitors seem to be simply reacting to the news of the day. To extend the analogy, while Apple is playing chess, Apple's competitors are playing checkers. And badly too.

HP isn't even playing checkers. They're just blowing in the wind. Hopefully HP's board will pick the right CEO this time. But based on their recent record, I'd say that it's the board, not the CEO, that's creating the problem.

No comments:

Post a Comment