The proximate cause was the HP Stock price.
For more distant causes click on “more”.
Excerpts from the NY Times article reporting the reasons for the ouster.
The upheaval at H.P. came after several weeks of mounting concerns among board members, senior executives and investors about how the former chief, Léo Apotheker, had handled a major strategy shift at the company announced last month, according to interviews with several people briefed on the board’s discussions.
While the board still endorses the strategy change — which includes a possible spinoff of its personal computer business, the closing of a line of mobile devices and the $11.7 billion acquisition of the software maker Autonomy — its members felt that Mr. Apotheker had bungled communicating the plans to H.P. employees and outsiders.
“It’s not about the strategy, it’s about the guy,” said one of the people with knowledge of the board’s discussions, who was not authorized to speak publicly.
In an interview, Ms. Whitman, who became a member of the board this year, said the process that had led to Mr. Apotheker’s ouster took place over about three months, and came to a head in late August. Once she was aware that she would be a candidate to succeed him, she said, she recused herself from the selection of a successor.
The atmosphere in the executive ranks at H.P. beneath Mr. Apotheker became increasingly tense over the past several weeks. “They were demoralized and confused,” said one former H.P. executive who stays in contact with colleagues still at the company. “They felt there was no process matching the vision, no structure for execution.”
H.P.’s board was becoming more unsettled by Mr. Apotheker’s communications with investors, including bullish statements about H.P.’s prospects that turned out to be embarrassing in hindsight. At an investor conference in the spring put on by Sanford C. Bernstein, the investment firm’s analyst Toni Sacconaghi asked Mr. Apotheker how confident, on a scale of one to 10, he was that H.P. would earn $7 a share during fiscal 2014.