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HP expected to hand Whitman full fat CEO role

Apotheker set for nightflight to Frankfurt?

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Meg Whitman will be handed the reins at HP for the long term, multiple reports said today.

However, the expected ousting of accident prone current boss Leo Apotheker in favour of the former eBay boss turned gubernatorial candidate, has done little to steady investors' faith in the firm, with its shares down almost 5 per cent this morning.

News that Apotheker might be for the chop, with Whitman stepping in as caretaker CEO broke yesterday courtesy of Allthingsdigital. Its shares rose on the back of the speculation.

However, Reuters reports this morning that sources told it that Whitman would become "full CEO rather than serving in an interim capacity."

This would presumably set the stage for a longer term makeover of the firm, rather than an interim quick fix.

Reuters added that one of its sources said Whitman's elevation would not result in a reversal of Apotheker's key strategic moves, including the proposed spinning off of its PC division, and the eyewateringly expensive acquisition of British software vendor Autonomy.

This could explain the slide in HP's shares this morning, although the kinder explanation is that the vendor is suffering from a wide-ranging rout of US shares after the Fed issued a gloomier than expected analysis on the US economy yesterday.

The process to elevate Whitman is "on track" Reuters said, with the final word on Apotheker's tenure expected to come this afternoon, after the stock markets close. Lufthansa has a 7.08pm flight from San Francisco to Frankfurt. ®

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