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HP Shuffles its Board

Reportedly CEO Léo Apotheker is importing a lot of SAP people

If ever a board screamed to be overhauled, it’s been HP’s.

The move finally came Thursday after the stock market closed only to be stepped on by Google’s news that it was moving one of its young founders into the CEO’s chair.

According to HP’s non-executive chairman Ray Lane four directors when asked volunteered to withdraw: Joel Hyatt, John Joyce, Robert Ryan (the board’s former lead independent director) and Lucille Salhany – that looks like at least two maybe three vocal Hurd supporters and an anti-Hurd agitator – people who, by the way, also decided to bring in Léo Apotheker (pictured) as Hurd’s replacement, an unpopular, unproven dark horse choice to say the least.

In their place HP – apparently Lane who appears to be running the board – recruited five replacements: former eBay CEO and last season’s failed gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman; former Alcatel-Lucent CEO Pat Russo; former GE CIO Gary Reiner, now also a special advisor to private equity house General Atlantic; Booz & Company CEO Shumeet Banerji; and AXA Private Equity founder and CEO Dominique Senequier.

That brings the board to 13 effective January 21 ahead of election – and heavy on VCs – and their job Lane told CNBC is to support Apotheker (which sounds like the kind of yes-man thinking that gets companies into trouble). Banerji and Senequier, he said, bring international experience; Reiner can represent the enterprise customer; Whitman supposedly knows the consumer like eBay is the consurmer, and Russo networking.

So much for rearranging the furniture at that end of the building.

Earlier this week the Wall Street Journal said Apotheker has been working on a plan with the HP board – which we imagine really means Lane, the one-time president of Oracle and still a managing partner at Kleiner Perkins – with maybe Marc Andreessen kibitzing – that would see HP put more emphasis on software, networking and storage (no surprise there), focus on selling into the cloud (isn’t everybody), increase HP’s R&D spend (his predecessor was criticized for cutting back), downplay PCs and servers, kick three-time-CEO-hopeful Ann Livermore, who runs HP’s $57 billion enterprise business, upstairs as vice-chairman (apparently it was wrong there), and carve her unit in two giving equipment to EMC import David Donatelli and services to Enterprise sales chief Tom Hogan both reporting to Apotheker.

The paper said the plan could change and HP denied it was going to reshuffle senior staff.

What we hear is that senior management hasn’t a clue what going on.

The next senior executive to depart, the Journal predicts, will be CIO Randy Mott.

The company has – and this is confirmed – quietly hired Emil Sayegh out of Rackspace as marketing VP, cloud computing. He was general manager of Rackspace’s Cloud Computing Division.

The plan, whatever it is, is supposed to be made public in March. Reportedly Apotheker is importing a lot of SAP people.

More Stories By Maureen O'Gara

Maureen O'Gara the most read technology reporter for the past 20 years, is the Cloud Computing and Virtualization News Desk editor of SYS-CON Media. She is the publisher of famous "Billygrams" and the editor-in-chief of "Client/Server News" for more than a decade. One of the most respected technology reporters in the business, Maureen can be reached by email at maureen(at)sys-con.com or paperboy(at)g2news.com, and by phone at 516 759-7025. Twitter: @MaureenOGara

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