Meg Whitman has been out of a job since the race for the governorship of California didn’t pan out.  That all changed on Thursday, when the former eBay head honcho was named the new CEO of HP. She will be replacing Leo Apotheker, who has been in the position for less than a year.

“We are at a critical moment and we need renewed leadership to successfully implement our strategy and take advantage of the market opportunities ahead,” says Ray Lane, who now serves as the Executive Chairman of the HP board. In street talk that means that the board wasn’t happy with the direction that Apotheker was taking the company.

Or perhaps it was just confused. In August,HP announced that it was spinning off its computer and smart phone divisions, and that it was buying the UK-based firm Autonomy for an estimated $10 billion. Its stocks plummeted, and as reported, there were even rumors afloat that Oracle was considering a hostile takeover of HP. Then, a week later,  HP announced that it was releasing a new desktop.

Now Apotheker is out, and Whitman, who turned eBay around, will be expected to perform the same miracle for HP. On the other hand, there is a big difference between eBay, which focuses on marketing, and HP, which focuses on manufacturing. The two require a very different skill set, and just because Whitman succeeded in the former does not mean that she will succeed in the latter.

This concern was reflected in HP’s stock prices following the announcement. HP stock prices dropped 1.28 percent in after hours trading since the announcement was made.

HP’s performance on the stock market today will be a better gauge of whether the board acted rashly by replacing Apotheker. Between Hurd, Apotheker, and now Whitman, the company has gone through three CEOs in just twelve months. That will hardly inspire confidence.

Read More at the Wall Street Journal.
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