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Meg Whitman says she wants to move ahead with her predecessor's plans to chop up HP, including cutting out its core personal computer business.  (Source: Reuters (inset); Appetite Indulgence)
Company will still be place on the butcher's block with parts cut off and new ingredients added

Yesterday was seemingly a significant day for Hewlett-Packard Company (HPQ) with the board firing divisive CEO Léo Apotheker and pegging former eBay, Inc. (EBAY) CEO Meg Whitman as his replacement.  Now it looks like that move might have been more of a token gesture to placate angry shareholders than an actual sign of change.

Reuters reported mid-yesterday that insiders stated that HP executives had not deviated from plans to butcher the company, gutting the core Personal Systems Group 
in a spinoff and discarding the webOS devices business.  That report was confirmed yesterday in a brief interview of new CEO Meg Whitman by Bloomberg Businessweek.  The new CEO commented, "It [the leadership change] does not signal a change in the strategy. We are behind the actions that were taken on Aug. 18. We are firmly committed to Autonomy."

The news set investor pessimism to new highs.  The unpopular plans and outrage at analysis that HP is 
grossly overpaying to buy UK software maker Autonomy, Corp. Plc. (LON:AU) sent shares plunging to new lows.  Stock was down 4.4 percent in today's trading to beneath $21.80.  Previously shares had hit a low of $22.22 -- a 47 drop from when Mr. Apotheker assumed the CEO position.  Initially when news hit of Mr. Apotheker's departure, stock jumped to $24.92 on hopes that the leadership change might signal a course correction for HP.

If there's a ray of sunshine in the gloomy outlook for HP, it's that HP will owe Mr. Apotheker 
no severance pay, unlike previous CEO Mark Hurd who was given a severance package estimated to be worth between $25M and $50M USD.





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