The former chairman and CEO of Compaq Computer Corp, Michael Capellas, has resigned from his position as president of Hewlett-Packard Co and is being tipped to take over the helm at beleaguered WorldCom Inc.
Palo Alto, California-based HP said that Capellas was resigning from the company and its board of directors to pursue other career opportunities, and that he will not be replaced as president. The company’s operating executives will now report directly to HP’s chairman and CEO Carly Fiorina, who said that she supported his decision to leave and thanked him on behalf of the company and its employees.
Capellas said in a statement that he was comfortable making the move because of the progress being made in the integration of HP and Compaq following the merger. No information has been given about Capellas’s future plans, although he was strongly linked to the vacant position at WorldCom in Monday’s Wall Street Journal.
The WSJ reported that Capellas heads the list of potential replacements to take the helm at the telecommunications company, which is currently operating under Chapter 11 bankruptcy-court protection following its $9bn accounting errors. According to the WSJ, the creditors’ committee representatives have already agreed on Capellas as the man they want to lead WorldCom out of Chapter 11.
Capellas became president of HP after the completion of its $19bn mega-merger with Compaq in May. He became CEO of Compaq in July 1999 and was an unexpected replacement for former CEO Eckhard Pfeiffer. He had previously been acting COO at Compaq after an executive cull, having joined the company in 1998 as chief information officer from the same position at Oracle Corp.
Capellas initially faced problems at Compaq’s helm as the company began to show signs of indigestion following its earlier acquisitions of Digital Equipment Corp and Tandem Computers Inc, although he had managed to settle the ship before the contentious HP merger plan was announced.
After coping with the fallout of Compaq’s acquisition spree and securing the merger with HP many people would be tempted to kick back and relax, but this is something Capellas is unlikely to get the chance to do should he decide to take over the reins at WorldCom.