Thursday's announcement ends the technology giant's nearly two-month search to replace Mark Hurd. HP forced out Hurd in early August amid allegations of sexual harassment and deceptive expense reports.
Apotheker was the longtime CEO of business software maker SAP. Hewlett-Packard Co. also named another former software executive, Ray Lane, as its non-executive chairman.
Lane once was the No. 2 executive at Oracle Corp., a position now held by Hurd.