HP goes nuts, hires ex-SAP man as CEO - SAP image

Hewlett Packard has decided that an ex CEO of software company SAP will be its next CEO, in something of an astonishing move.

Leo Apotheker, who was the CEO of SAP, will be the next CEO of Hewlett Packard. He is probably a bit more buttoned down than the last ousted CEO, Mark Hurd. And probably even more buttoned down than Carly Fiorina, Hurd's predecessor who an aide-de-campe once described as "more important than the King of Spain".

And in an even more astonishing move, HP has decided to appoint Ray Lane, a close confidant and ex president of Oracle, as its non executive chairman. Ray Lane is a VC of the old school and still at Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers. We met him at an Oracle user group event in Amsterdam in 1995. Lane is a tough old bird. He knows how to compete with his old mate, Larry E.

The move indicates just how much emotion is at stake on the corporate  CEO front. And it also indicates just how high the odds are. Lane was a close confidant of Oracle CEO Larry Ellison and has much experience of the market that HP covets.

The Apotheker move is even more astonishing. The HP board obviously considers him to be a safe pair of hands.

Something is afoot, no doubt. No doubt, SAP will have some views on the matter too...