UPDATE: The rumors were true. Meg Whitman is in; Leo Apotheker is out at Hewlett-Packard.
The company named Whitman, the former eBay CEO, as its new chief executive Thursday afternoon, confirming reports that began leaking out earlier in the day.
Whitman becomes the troubled computer company's eighth CEO since 1999 and the second one in less than a year, replacing Apotheker as HP's top executive.
Here's the statement from the HP executive chairman Ray Lane on the hiring:
We are at a critical moment and we need renewed leadership to successfully implement our strategy and take advantage of the market opportunities ahead. Meg is a technology visionary with a proven track record of execution. She is a strong communicator who is customer focused with deep leadership capabilities. Furthermore, as a member of HP's board of directors for the past eight months, Meg has a solid understanding of our products and markets.
ZDNET reports that as the new chief, Whitman has a long to-do list at the company:
Decide what to do with the PC business. Should it stay or go? Determine if HP's software strategy is correct and figure out if Autonomy is the right fit. Fix the services business and move it to higher margin deals. If that's not possible, spin off HP Services. Figure out whether HP pulled the plug on the TouchPad too early. Define HP.
POST 12:44 p.m.: Former eBay CEO and California gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman is poised to become the new chief executive of Hewlett-Packard after the markets close Thursday, tech blog All Things D reports, citing “multiple sources close to the situation.”
The Wall Street Journal-affiliated news site cautions that the company’s full board has not yet officially signed off on the move, but reports that Whitman’s hiring is “nearly a done deal.”
The news comes as the HP board is set to meet Thursday to decide the fate of current CEO Leo Apotheker, who has been on the job for less than a year.
It has been widely speculated in tech circles that Whitman, the well-known Silicon Valley exec who poured tens of millions of dollars of her own money into her failed 2010 gubernatorial campaign, would be named the interim CEO of the troubled computer company. But, according to the report, she will be taking over on “a long-term basis.”