HP Surges on News of Possible CEO Ouster

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Wall Street isn't the only place where HP ( HPQ) chief Leo Apotheker is unwelcome.

After nearly a year on the job that was marked by a 40% stock slide, months of inaction, sales shortfalls and finally a stunning call for the breakup of the company, HP's board of directors is considering showing Apotheker the door, according to Bloomberg.

Apotheker's bold bid to emulate IBM ( IBM) by positioning the hardware shop as more of a services and software operation akin to SAP ( SAP) or Oracle ( ORCL) wasn't greeted with overwhelming approval by analysts and investors.

The Apotheker plan called for an expensive acquisition of enterprise software shop Autonomy ( AU), along with simultaneously exiting its WebOS mobile device business and pursuing a spinoff of the world's largest PC operation to buyers or investors.

HP needed a leader to guide the company toward a more diversified business away from a heavy reliance on PCs and network switching gear. But Apotheker has largely failed to gain the confidence that his approach is not a disaster.

HP hired Apotheker late in September 2010 as a take-charge leader to fill the shoes of Mark Hurd, who was booted as part of an ethics scandal.

Apotheker's dismantling plan may have pushed the board too far.

Possible candidates to replace Apotheker include former eBay chief Meg Whitman, according to Bloomberg.

One thing seems clear, with HP's stock up 8% to $24.21 on news of the potential shakeup, the prospect of Apotheker's removal seems to please investors.

--Written by Scott Moritz in New York.

To contact this writer, click here: Scott Moritz, or email: scott.moritz@thestreet.com.

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