HP CEO leaked memo fears 'another tough quarter'

Hewlett-Packard shares have tumbled after a leaked memo from CEO Léo Apotheker expressed fears over "another tough quarter" and urged managers to "watch every penny and minimize all hiring".

The message, which Apotheker (pictured) sent to top executives on 4th May, emerged late on Monday. An abrupt dip in share price prompted the company to move its earnings report, which had been scheduled for Wednesday afternoon, to Tuesday morning, Eastern Standard Time.

The company has been struggling to regain stability after the abrupt departure of Apotheker's predecessor, Mark Hurd, last August. Hurd was forced to resign after after an investigation into allegations of sexual harassment against an HP contractor and one-time soft-porn star led to the disclosure of what HP said were falsified expense claims.

Hurd's exit led to a boardroom purge and legal wrangles with rival Oracle, which immediately snapped up the disgraced former CEO.

Hurd's scandalous departure followed a controversial term as HP's top dog. His campaign of acquisitions mixed with savage cost cuts earned him love on Wall Street but discontent among company insiders.

And the company is not out of hot water yet. HP's share price has plummeted nearly 20 per cent since its last quarterly earnings announcement in February, in which the company admitted falling revenues in two of its key businesses, personal computers and services.