Kara Swisher

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New HP Chief Apotheker and New Chairman Ray Lane Talk About Their New Gigs!

Here is a little fact about Léo Apotheker, the former CEO of SAP (SAP), who is now the new Hewlett-Packard (HPQ) CEO: He speaks five languages.

Other than that, Apotheker was not very detailed in a short interview this afternoon with BoomTown about his plans to take over as the head of one of the world’s largest tech companies, saying, “I won’t presume to offer deep insights into HP…until I hear from its workforce.”

Apotheker said he will travel around the massive company first to get an idea of the best way to manage it going forward.

He also said he hopes to have good relations with Oracle (ORCL), which hired former HP CEO Mark Hurd after his ouster.

As to the controversy related to Hurd’s departure, Apotekher said, “HP is a strong and resilient company.”

That was echoed by Ray Lane, a former president and COO at Oracle, who was named HP’s non-executive chairman of the board today. Lane is currently a managing partner at VC powerhouse Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers.

He has, of course, tangled with rambunctious Oracle CEO Larry Ellison, but noted that the database giant was “one of many great partners and also tough competitors.”

Lane said he had been asked to be on the board of HP many times and decided to finally jump when he was approached last week.

“I’ve thought long and hard over the years about joining the board,” said Lane. “And I thought it was time.”

He said that he and Apotheker have known each other since 1992 and that they have had a “mutual respect,” despite often being business rivals.

Lane said he would focus on being a board member and will not be involved in any day-to-day management at HP.

That will be Apotheker’s job, of course, and he said he was happy to have it: “It’s a great privilege to run this company.”

Apotheker, who called himself a “global citizen coming to a global company,” said he has been “living on an airplane in seat 1D, if you really want to know.”

Now, he added, he’ll soon settle in Palo Alto, Calif., to be close to HP’s Silicon Valley HQ.