HP has hired former SAP chief executive Léo Apotheker to head up the company as Mark Hurd's replacement.
Apotheker was forced out as boss of SAP in February after seven months in the job and 20 years with the company following a reshuffle caused in part by poor business performance.
"Léo is a strategic thinker with a passion for technology, wide-reaching global experience and proven operational discipline - exactly what we were looking for in a chief executive," said Robert Ryan, lead independent director of the HP board.
"After more than two decades in the industry, he has a strong track record of driving technological innovation, building customer relationships and developing world-class teams."
The move will come as a shock to some of HP's management, since the company had been widely expected to promote from within rather than seek an outside candidate.
"Given HP's diversified products and services, its financial strength and its leadership position across markets, no other company is as well positioned to drive and profit from the revolutionary changes under way in the marketplace," said Apotheker.
"As we move forward, HP will continue to be a valued partner with our customers as well as a fierce competitor."
HP also added another member to its board with the appointment of Ray Lane as a non-executive director. Lane is currently managing partner at venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers.
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