A Double Standard at H.P.

And so it came to pass that on the 55th day — 55 days, that is, after firing its chief executive, Mark V. Hurd, for playing footsie with a consultant and fudging his expense accounts — the board of directors at Hewlett-Packard (HPQ) proudly announced it had found a new man to lead the company out of the wilderness.

His name is Léo Apotheker, a suave European — how many American C.E.O.’s have an accent aigu in their name? — who had spent most of his career at SAP, the giant German maker of business software.

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