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Leo Apotheker was Hewlett-Packard's top choice among six finalists for its CEO position and the only one offered the job, said Robert Ryan, the lead independent director on HP's board, during a conference call with analysts Friday morning.
Ryan said HP had six finalists to replace Mark Hurd as CEO after being asked how many other internal and external candidates the company considered before selecting Apotheker, a 20-year SAP veteran who stepped down from that company last February.
"We cast the net very far and very wide. There were lots of candidates. This is a very desirable [position] and we ended up with about six [people] that we feel could have done this job. As we went through the list, Leo came out the best and he was the only one we offered the job to," said Ryan.
Many HP observers thought the company might select an internal candidate to replace Hurd. Ryan didn't detail how many of the six candidates were on HP's current management team.
One task Apotheker now faces is retaining some of HP's top executives, who might feel slighted after being overlooked for the CEO position. Just two weeks ago, The Wall Street Journal reported that HP's board was favoring an internal candidate, citing "people familiar with the matter."
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