back to article Apotheker: HP board was just as culpable for Autonomy buy

Leo Apotheker reckons he shouldn't be forced to single-handedly carry the can for HP's calamitous acquisition of Autonomy when there are a bunch of board members that were equally at fault. The man spent 11 short months at the Silicon Valley giant, but this was more than enough to make an indelible mark - his tenure included …


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  1. John Riddoch
    Thumb Down


    "Subsequently however legal action was taken by an investor against a bunch of HPers over the handling of the Autonomy buy, and named as a defendant was among other hapless Apotheker, who until now maintained a silent vigil."

    That sentence needs taken out and shot so it's put out of our misery. I've had to read that about 5 times and I'm still having to make assumptions about what it's actually supposed to mean.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Ewww....

      "That sentence needs taken out and shot so it's put out of our misery. "

      Strikingly and amusingly put. But standing between you and clarity are the two words "to be". AC because I make enough errors of my own.

    2. Shagbag

      Another example of lax copy

      "after it unearthed some irregularities in Autonomy's books"

      I haven't been following this closely, so I guess I missed the court case when this statement moved from being a simple claim by HP to being a proven fact as the author represents.

      1. daveeff

        Re: Another example of lax copy

        You need to get some "alleged"s in there - or get some good lawyers!

  2. Mad Chaz
    Big Brother

    What do you mean?

    "I have to be responsible for the consequences of the work I did? What am I, a salary worker???"

    1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

      Needs more Vader

      "You have failed me for the last time, Apotheker!"

  3. Nick Roberts

    Mighty expensive shares...

    "Despite sending its share price spiralling downwards by billions, from $77bn when he started to $45bn on his exit" - really? That was the share price rather than the market capitalisation? I don't think so!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Mighty expensive shares...

      Haha, good point... or the shares have lost about 99.99999% of their value in the past few months.

  4. Snivelling Wretch

    'implement strategy in its totality'

    "Entirety", surely?

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Now Apotheker is chiming in....

    Now Apotheker is joining the butt-covering. Inevitable I guess, but Apotheker should "man up" a bit more. He cooked up this disasterous deal that is costing a lot of HP workers their jobs.

    1. asdf

      Re: Now Apotheker is chiming in....

      >He cooked up this disasterous deal that is costing a lot of HP workers their jobs.

      Can't you say that about virtually every ex CEO for the last 15 years at HP? HP is the king of the yearly 10,000 person layoff which occurs strangely always a few months after they hire their latest short term CEO (what a bold new move).

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    So basically....

    He has a point. If the Board would have said "no way" or even "ok, but not at this price", this would have never gone through. Leo is clearly trying to make it seem as though Autonomy would have been a good acquisition if he had stayed on as CEO, which is clearly not the case. It was a poor decision from day one. The CFO of HP, however, was dead set against this acquisition, as were every financial and IT analyst that looked at it, so it wasn't as though everyone thought this was a great idea. The Board, particularly Ray Lane, is right in the center of the culpability and should have been extremely sure that this was the right way to go as there were ample naysayers.... which is probably why they are going down this "we were defrauded!" path instead of the obvious "woah, we paid too much" path. Leo is the primary person to blame, but the Board also shares a large portion of the responsibility. Particularly because they ratified Leo's "lets make HP a software company" strategy, but then pulled away when the going got tough and retreated back to print, PCs and x86 servers with some networking and storage here and there. Now they have HP, still a hardware company, that has software assets of no particularly strategic value.... and a long term strategy of no particular strategic value.

    1. ItsNotMe

      Re: So basically....

      Well...the current CEO was on the Board at that time as well.

  7. tirk

    Video of Apotheker's statement here?

  8. Sil

    B.S. Inc

    Complete B.S.

    It isn't the task of the board to check numbers of a potential target are reasonable.

    They are here to say yay or nay on the basis of what their top management present.

    It is really a job for top management, and it is clearly a failure of the CEO.

  9. Bernard

    So his position is that the board are culpable for failing to spot the stupidity of his stupid decision.

    He's right that they're not blameless, but it doesn't make him look any better.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    More of Apotheker's BS.

    When he turned up at HP nobody in my business group knew anything about him, but we thought - give the guy a chance... It quickly became apparent that he was, and still is, a completely clueless idiot. This opinion was shared by a large majority of individual contributors and managers below a certain level at my locale. Not only was he useless - he was useless with no charisma!

    He is right though, the HP Board is equally guilty of not recognising the stupidity of his ideas and reigning him back. Just shows the "quality" of the HP Board, then - and now.

    AC for obvious reasons.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: More of Apotheker's BS.

      Well, when I heard about him joining I researched his term at SAP and thought 'how can the BoD do this to us again?'. Carly, Capellas, Hurd and now this guy, who was thrown out of SAP for being such a jerk.

      The first thing I did was to reduce my stock purchase plan from 10 to 1 %. I should have followed through with my matured options (@ $23) and sold the lot, now they are F'n worthless.


      They all left with huge buy-outs and don't really have to work to live well, the rest of us unwashed will either loose our jobs or retire to poverty.

      I hope someone successfully sues the lot of them.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: More of Apotheker's BS.

        Me too bro! I am sitting on a bunch of options @>$28, that was supposed to be my retirement nest-egg. Those options are now, and are likely to continue to be, completely worthless. B'stards.

        What with the relentless errosion of benefits (what benefits?) and the reducing accural rates of my pension contributions, no pay rise for several years, I genuinely fear for the future.

        I hope those ex-CEo's sleep well at night - NOT

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Sort of true

    He's right - the rest of the board were just as stupid as he was (and presumably still is). I don't know why he thinks that makes him look any better.

  12. Levente Szileszky

    Oh PLEAHHSE, you should REALLY shut up...'ve FAILED MISERABLY, you have wiped out ~1/3RD OF HP IN DAYS because you couldn't shut your stupid mouth, not to mention throwing out OVER A BILLION WHEN YOU SHUT PALM, the ONLY future-proof investment HP had in the now-booming mobile business.

    Apotheker is the archetype of these classic, clueless sales/MBA-types who are infesting every healthy organization in recent years, only to drive them into the ground...

    ...remember Meg Whitman and her last years at eBay?,_collecting_billions_while_nearly_destroying_the_company

    ...but that being said HP's BOARD IS AT FAULT FOR YEARS NOW and we're talking about criminal negligence: a bunch of utterly clueless, yet arrogant, stupid lawyers with discontent against everybody who's technically proficient, period. Remember how they exploited a completely private love/harassment affair between some reality "actress" and Mark Hurd, HP's last CEO, even admitting it did not violate any HP rule? THEY HAVE PUSHED OUT THE GUY who not only had a vision and some clue about the technical side of things (he was another MBA but spent decades at NCR) but also brought back HP from the edge of the cliff after the now-infamous DISASTROUS tenure of another worthless, arrogant-clueless glorified sales woman as CEO (yes, I'm talking about "Lady" "Jet-setting" Fiorina.) Hurd had a clue, had a vision and knew how to make it work - he had to go, board cannot tolerate anyone who's not in their pocket.

    Did I mention who was these lawyers' paid adviser at the time? She is the woman famously wasting BILLIONS on Skype, only to sell it back after she couldn't make anything of it... yes, she was Meg Whitman, another utterly worthless MBA monkey - now the current CEO of HP. Full circle, that is.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    One good thing

    They no longer call it Hewlett-Packard. Otherwise, William Hewlett and David Packard would be spinning in their graves.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The story keeps changing

    Save it for court. Then we'll see what is real and what is imagined.

  15. kb

    I have been saying its a CYA

    For awhile now, they are trying to use him as a scapegoat when the simple fact is you look and the SAME BOARD has been there for all of the major foul ups of the last 5+ years! I mean you look at their track record of purchases and you quickly spot an obvious pattern...they always massively overpay for a company then end up having to take a big write down!

    Seriously folks this board makes the one at AMD look like Mensa, they have made one horribly bad call after another and blown through cash like Charlie Sheen at a porn convention and now that the stock is nosediving and it looks like the poo might hit the blades the board, which included Whitman BTW, are trying to do a CYA and blame it on the last deal. Well I'm sorry but if you want me to swallow this company was so brilliant they could cook the books to the tune of 5+ billion and not get caught? That is laughable.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    For Christmas, someone should buy him...

    ... Gil Amelio's book about his (similarly successful) tenure at Apple in the 90's. I think it's called 'A Big Boy Did It And Ran Away'.

  17. Anonymous Coward 101

    Success has many fathers...

    ...failure is an orphan.

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Welcome to the world of the 1%

    Where excessive greed and fat paychecks, whilst having zero talent or brains, is the norm in society.

  19. daveeff

    Nice work if you can get it.

    I've just read this article after this one

    We tax payers have to fork out to pay comet workers basic redundancy while Leo walked away with $25M for basically being sacked for incompetence.

    Once you blag your way onto a board of a bank, multinational, broadcasting company you seem to be given money however you f-up. Nice work if you can get it.

  20. k9gardner

    Apotheker is a one-trick pony

    And his race was run 10 years ago. Hang it up, kiddo. Enjoy the memories. Let a few people keep their jobs.

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    This guardian article says it all

    Sure Apotheker was mainly culpable for the Autonomy deal, but Whitman did ok it. Whitman let Autonomy be run into the ground and now she is shooting HP in the foot again (for the sake of her own ego) with this public spat with Mike Lynch.

    When will we get a CEO who puts the company first ?

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