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H-P Hires Meg Whitman: Frying Pan to Fire?

After controversy over its hiring of C.E.O.s from outside the company, Hewlett-Packard has hastily named Meg Whitman its newest chief executive. She joined the board eight months ago. 

What’s the Latest Development?

Meg Whitman, long-time C.E.O. of eBay and former candidate for governor of California, has been appointed as the new C.E.O. of the computer company Hewlett-Packard. Former C.E.O. Leo Apotheker served only 11 months at the company before being fired, a move which has shaken confidence in Hewlett-Packard’s decision making abilities. Compounding that problem was the company’s recent decision to scrap production of its TouchPad tablet computer. Even the company’s computer-making business has an uncertain future. 

What’s the Big Idea?

During the ten years that Meg Whitman served as the C.E.O. of eBay, the online seller became a multi-billion dollar company. Some say this preparation, as well as Whitman’s familiarity with H-P since joining its corporate board eight months ago, suits her well to the big job ahead. Others are less confident. To be sure, big differences exist between managing a company that produces nothing and a large, high-technology manufacturing business. In a sense, H-P has been a victim of its own success as it has continued to expand vertically. 

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