Thursday, September 22, 2011

The HP Board: Another CEO Bites the Dust?

News reports indicate that the HP Board of Directors will fire CEO Leo Apotheker today and replace him with Meg Whitman.  Many people have criticized the Board heavily for its actions over the past few years... and rightfully so.  They have had their share of public fiascoes.  From my perspective, they deserve the most criticism for not having developed a talent pipeline and a succession plan that would have enabled them to promote an insider during at least one of these management changes.  From Fiorina to Whitman, the Board keeps going outside the firm to find a new CEO.  How can a firm such as HP constantly have to reach for an outsider?  That's a flawed talent strategy and poor governance.

On the positive side, I applaud the Board for not falling into the sunk cost trap with Apotheker.  They deserve some credit for acknowledging their mistake and cutting their losses.  Many Boards would have been reluctant to fire a CEO after such a short period of time, even if it became quite clear that things were not working out.  

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