Well there was a lot of jaw droppin over the announcement that Léo Apotheker is HP's new CEO and that Ray Lane is joining the Board. Here's all the analysis worth reading. It's just that, well, hmmmm. I'm a Léo fan. I am. I admit it. And I think he's got some game. But is this the right team for him? Lets not jump to any conclusions before the man finds the key to the executive bathroom! But lets get to the color before we get to the analysis shall we? Reactions in the EI community ran the gamut :
I really don't understand the HP Board of Directors... seriously, is this the best they can do? How much shareholder wealth do they have to destroy before being satisfied?
All I know is if I am a CIO, I love my choices now - buy from Oracle, SAP, ex-SAP, IBM.
This is good for cloud, and up and comers type companies as these guys try to integrate hardware and software to "extract more wallet share" we all can deliver real tangible value and grow without being noticed or fought.
I am baffled.
WOW. I did NOT see this coming! What a very strange choice given where HP is and where they might need to go...
SAHP. You heard it here first.
Pretty negative eh? Josh Greenbaum takes another tack with his post:
I’ve seen Léo in action, and he may be just want HP needs: someone from outside Silicon Valley culture who understands how to navigate in a global economy, a consummate sales professional, a strategist and thinker, and, above all, someone who gets enterprise software, and the value of looking high up the food chain for opportunity. Of course, I’m biased, but, that’s why I didn’t chose to become a storage technology analyst 20 years ago.
Phil Ferbst takes a wait and see attitude and approaches it from an M&A perspective:
With Léo Apotheker taking the helm at HP, all sorts of questions arise as to why they hired a software guy, who wasn’t exactly a wild success when he was top dog at SAP. Léo is the man you’d want if you are planning to acquire SAP. He knows the company inside and out and is savvy enough to work out some sort of game plan to integrate the German giant into the HP empire.
Ray Wang is also positive:
Apotheker and Lane bring software vision and leadership. Léo bring global software experience, effective salesmanship, and a highly strategic point of view. Ray Lane brings Silicon Valley credibility, long term vision, and wisdom sorely needed to the board. HP needs to make acquisitions in software to take this to the next level. Time is not on HP’s side. The core printer and ink business can be vulnerable and must be defended while making the play for enterprise software.
Once you get to know Léo you see a man who is willful, witty, intelligent and deeply engaged. He's got a socratic/Talmudic thought process that while driving YOU crazy, makes you think, defend your position and serves his decision making process oh so well. He also listens better than almost any man I have ever met. And that my friends is an undervalued talent. I like the fact that he's a consummate salesman, that he brings a depth of enterprise software experience that is lacking at HP.
My guess is that between the enterprise application play that HP can execute on with Léo at the helm and their infrastructure software with things such as HP OpenView, Léo can leverage both to be the glue that keeps HP humming. I know a lot of you application types forget about plumbing. But every house needs it and HP's got it. Its good plumbing too. It gives both IBM Tivoli and CA's Infrastructure management solutions a run for their money. How he combines both application and infrastructure management into a unified software solution (talk about an uber suite) and how Léo can manage the hardware and consumer spaces will be an interesting challenge for him. The other challenge will be developing rapport and trust with the engineering teams at HP. An area where I believe Léo got some serious schooling while at SAP.
Lets wait and see before judge shall we?