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HP CEO Change: Pros & Cons

Stocks in this article: HPQ IBM

PALO ALTO, Calif. ( TheStreet) -- With rumors of a CEO change swirling around HP (HPQ), questions are being asked about whether the company's board should go ahead and oust Leo Apotheker after less than a year on the job.

Meg Whitman, who left eBay (EBAY) in 2008, could be a candidate to replace Apotheker, according to Bloomberg, in a move that would herald yet more upheaval at the PC and server giant.

HP CEO Leo Apotheker

HP has not yet responded to a request for comment on this story.

Judging by the stock's surge on Wednesday, a rise of 6.7% to $23.98, investors see the potential change as a big-time positive. HP was the only component of the Dow Jones Industrial Average to finish in the green as the blue-chip index lost nearly 300 points.

In an attempt to give the matter its due consideration, TheStreet is listing the pros and cons of ending Apotheker's turbulent reign in Palo Alto.

Points For

A new CEO could draw a line under a period of turmoil at HP, easing investor concerns about the company's future, according to Brian White, an analyst at Ticonderoga Securities.

"We believe a new CEO could begin to build credibility for HP and join the company after quite a bit of damage has already been done," he explained, in a note released on Wednesday. "Keep in mind, stock is already down around 43% this year and investors are really irked by the company's recently announced, rich acquisition of Autonomy."

The lofty $11 billion price tag for U.K. software maker Autonomy raised serious questions about Apotheker's judgement, fueling chatter that he lacks the vision needed to steer the tech heavyweight.

The former SAP (SAP) chief, who succeeded the ousted Mark Hurd last year, has also shocked investors with the sheer scale of HP's corporate restructuring. Last month's raft of changes include ditching hardware based on the WebOS mobile operating system, spelling the end for HP's TouchPad tablet.

The tech giant (and no. 1 PC maker) has also been weighing a highly controversial spin off of its Personal Systems Group (PSG). Carving off such a key part of HP's business, though, has spooked investors, who are clearly uncomfortable with the firm's shape shift.

Apotheker's strategy ultimately poses more questions than it answers, says Allen Nogee, an analyst at In-Stat. "I just think that HP has to find itself, it has been floundering in a lot of areas, certainly in the mobile space." A CEO change, he adds, would be positive.

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