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Hewlett-Packard names new CEO, steps up competition with Oracle

September 30, 2010 |  2:03 pm

The battle of the titans kicked into overdrive Thursday when Hewlett-Packard Co. appointed former SAP Chief Executive Leo Apotheker as its CEO and president. The world's largest computer maker also named Ray Lane, managing partner at Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, as nonexecutive chairman.

The two replace Mark Hurd, who held both roles. Hurd resigned last month after an investigation of sexual harassment allegations from a contractor turned up inaccurate expense reports filed by Hurd or on his behalf. He joined rival Oracle Corp., which prompted HP to try to block the move, saying Hurd could not work as president of Oracle without revealing trade secrets or confidential information. Hurd resolved the lawsuit by waiving his rights to restricted stock units.

Now Palo Alto-based HP has recruited two executives with a long history with Oracle. Apotheker, who stepped down unexpectedly from SAP this year after the board did not renew his contract, competed fiercely with Oracle for years. Lane was once a trusted lieutenant to Oracle CEO Larry Ellison before his abrupt departure in 2000.

HP passed over internal candidates to pick Apotheker. The list included Vyomesh Joshi, who runs HP's printer business; Todd Bradley, head of the personal-computer division; Dave Donatelli, who runs the storage and server unit; Tom Hogan, executive vice president of enterprise sales and marketing; and Ann Livermore, executive vice president of the enterprise business.

"Leo is a strategic thinker with a passion for technology, wide-reaching global experience and proven operational discipline -- exactly what we were looking for in a CEO," said Robert Ryan, lead independent director of HP’s board.

This is only the third time HP has hired from outside its ranks. Hurd's predecessor, Carly Fiorina, who came from Lucent Technologies, was ousted after the $18.9-billion Compaq acquisition failed to live up to expectations and HP's stock lost half its value. Hurd, hired from NCR Corp., was heralded for helping HP regain its momentum.

Cathie Lesjak, who served as interim CEO since Hurd left, will remain HP's chief financial officer.

-- Jessica Guynn

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