Hewlett-Packard elected to go the road less traveled to find its new chief executive officer.
After a nearly two-month search, the world's largest IT company on Sept. 30 named former SAP chief executive Leo Apotheker, 57, as its new president and CEO, replacing Mark Hurd.
It was a move few industry people saw coming.
In choosing Apotheker, HP bypassed several highly placed insiders, including Todd Bradley, executive vice president of HP's $40 billion Personal Systems Group; Ann Livermore, EVP of HP's $54 billion Enterprise Business unit and a 30-year HP veteran; David Donatelli, EVP and GM for Servers, Storage and Networking; and Marc Andreessen, entrepreneur, HP board member since 2009 and creator of Moziac, the first graphical Web browser.
The HP board also named former Oracle President Ray Lane to its membership. Lane currently serves as managing partner at the celebrated venture capital firm of Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers in Menlo Park, Calif. Lane was designated non-executive chairman of the company.
Naturally, Apotheker will join HP's board of directors. Both appointments are effective Nov. 1, 2010, the company said.
HP's stock price closed at $42.07 but was down about 3 percent to $40.82 in after-hours trading.
Apotheker, a native of Aachen, Germany, served at SAP for 20 years but lasted less than two years as CEO of the Germany-based database company, from April 2008 to February 2010.
Apotheker resigned his position under pressure at SAP on Feb. 7, 2010, when the company failed to deliver on its cloud and mobile market strategy, losing key market share to Oracle-ironically the new employer of his predecessor, Hurd.
Hurd was named co-president of Oracle on Sept. 6, one month after leaving HP in a forced resignation following charges of sexual harassment by a former HP employee. Hurd has since settled the complaint out of court.
New CEO had rough sailing at SAP
Apotheker's resignation last February came as SAP was locked in a fierce global market share battle with Oracle over the enterprise business applications that both companies develop and sell. These applications include accounting, financial management, general ledger, human resources and others that are the operational bedrock of all large enterprises.
His resignation also came a little more than a week after SAP announced a 12 percent decrease in operating income for the full year 2009.
In May 2010, only a few months after Apotheker left SAP, the company decided to acquire Sybase to help fill out those market needs.