“When Ray Lane took over as chairman of Hewlett-Packard Co a year ago, he was looking forward to working with longtime associate Leo Apotheker, who had just been appointed CEO to repair the damage done by the messy departure of Mark Hurd,” Poornima Gupta and Sarah McBride report for Reuters. “Little did he know that he would soon be presiding over another ugly CEO transition and drawing withering criticism for what investors and analysts viewed as incompetence on the part of the HP board.”

“Now, as executive chairman, the respected Silicon Valley veteran and Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers venture capitalist has his reputation on the line as he tries to get the iconic computer maker back on track,” Gupta and McBride report. “When it became clear that the CEO had lost his credibility, Lane and the board fired Apotheker in September, letting go a man he has known for 20 years. At the same time, HP added ‘executive’ to Lane’s chairman title and, without a formal search, appointed board member and former eBay Inc chief Meg Whitman as CEO, despite her lack of experience in enterprise computing.”

Gupta and McBride report, “Conversations with current and former colleagues of Lane paint a picture of a plain-speaking and decisive executive who is not afraid to get his hands dirty.”

Read more in the full article and see a photo of Lane getting his HP hands really “dirty” using his Apple MacBook Air here.

[Attribution: Electronista. Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Jax44″ for the heads up.]