HP Announces Job Losses
HP Laying Off 525 + 1?
Hewlett-Packard is reportedly laying off as many as 525 employees from its WebOS division after deciding to stop making WebOS devices and, so far, failing to find a partner to license its mobile operating system. This follows on from HP’s announcement in August that it was pulling out of mobile and tablet devices and reviewing plans for its PC division.
And then today Bloomberg reports that the man himself, CEO Leo Apotheker is also under pressure from the board of HP over the performance of the business since he took over. Hewlett-Packard has lowered its sales forecasts three times since Apotheker became CEO in November, and he’s presided over strategy swings that left shareholders doubting his credibility. Before today, the company’s stock has plunged 47 percent on his watch, and “investor exasperation” with management is said to be at its highest in more than a decade.
Hewlett-Packard rose $1.51, or 6.7 percent, to $23.98 today on the New York Stock Exchange after Bloomberg reported the possible management change. Pressure on Apotheker intensified on 18 August when he announced a sweeping overhaul that included a $10.3 billion acquisition of Autonomy Corp. and a possible PC spin-off. He also killed off the company’s WebOS tablets and smartphones, just five months after vowing to put the operating system on a full range of the company’s computers. The shares plunged 20 percent following that announcement, fueled by concerns that Autonomy was too expensive and the other plans showed a lack of deliberation.
The possible spin-off would take as long as 18 months to complete, Hewlett-Packard said at the time. This elicited criticism that it should have had a buyer lined up, or a more concrete plan in place before making the announcement.Continued on the next page