Meg Whitman’s name has always done well in business. Despite not becoming governor of California, her career with eBay and other tech firms (including being on the board at Hewlett-Packard) has nearly always been accompanied by success. In short, she’s tech-firm gold.
It’s no surprise that Whitman is being considered to take the top spot as CEO of HP. If she is indeed offered the position and accepts, there will be renewed buzz surrounding the company, one that has been relatively quiet for some time now (other than their failed incursion into the tablet market). She would be a strong leader and would likely lead the company to long-term success, but it’s in the instant impact that this would be an interesting move by HP.
If she isn’t offered the spot, will stocks tank? If she IS offered the spot and declines publicly, the stocks will certainly tank.
The rumor alone will spark a spike in share prices and increase the market cap of the company. Wall Street loves Whitman and will flock to her based upon rumors more than they’d flock to anyone who isn’t named Jobs.
HP knows all of this, at least they should. Brokers across the nation are buying shares this very moment, driving up the prices based upon her consideration. If it falls through, the shares will fall as well. With all of that said, there are really only two possibilities:
- She has already accepted an informal offer and they are simply priming the pump for an announcement early next week. This would be a brilliant move because it will allow them to double-dip the market rather than springing it on us at once.
- They underestimate the affect her name alone will have on shares and jumped the gun, in which case they have to hope that everything falls into place. This would be an idiotic move — there’s too much to risk and once someone else is put in or no move is made at all, the shares will drop below where they would have been had they not invoked the Whitman name in the first place.
The company has maneuvered very nicely over the years, pivoting when necessary in a nimble manner not normally seen by companies so large. If we can assume that they really are as smart as we think they are and option 1 is reality, we should expect an official announcement no later than next Tuesday.