Rumor: Whitman Is In As HP Head (Update: Confirmed)

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Multiple sources are reporting/positing that Meg Whitman, former eBay head, will be sitting in the CEO seat at HP after today’s market close. Current CEO, Leo Apotheker, will get a $35 million pay out and wend his merry way to his next blood-letting.

HP’s stock is not yet reacting to the news although it closed at a 24 last night after futzing around in the 22s for most of yesterday morning.

UPDATE – A tipster writes: “Just had a meeting with our HP Regional Rep and it was disclosed that during morning conference calls HP will be announcing his resignation shortly.”

Whitman resigned from eBay in 2007 and has extensive consumer experience with stints and Procter & Gamble and Disney. HP needs a firm consumer hand to guide it into relevance. While business software is a great money maker – there’s a seemingly sucker born in upper IT management every minute – HP has long been known as one of the last purveyors of mass-market, commodity machines for the masses. Sadly, many of those hardware gambles don’t pay off (Palm, Voodoo) but HP makes PCs that people use. There’s no reason to spin the hardware brand off and hopefully Whitman knows it.

As Erick wrote HP made a huge mistake in the Hurd firing and subsequent Apotheker pick-up. In the end HP is still a massive player in the hardware market and they should ignore it at their peril.

UPDATE #2: HP has issued a press release, and it’s official: Meg Whitman is the new President and CEO of HP.