The surprise announcement last night sent shares in the American-listed firm down three per cent, as the company attempted to draw a line under its previous boss, Mark Hurd.
Hurd left the company on 6 August under a cloud after an investigation into claims of sexual harassment found he had filed inaccurate expense reports.
“The investment community wanted an outsider to be named CEO,” said Gleacher & Co analyst Brian Marshall. “They view HP internally as a little bit dysfunctional in terms of all the issues they had in senior management in the last couple of years.”
Apotheker was with German software company SAP for more than 20 years, and was closely involved in transforming the firm’s research and development operations.
HP’s board also named Ray Lane as non-executive chairman. Lane is managing partner at venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, and previously served as president and chief operating officer at Oracle.
Both appointments are effective from 1 November, HP said.