There’s a major shakeup on the HP Board of Directors. Ray Lane has announced that he is resigning the chairmanship, although he will stay on as a regular board member. Two other members have resigned their positions on the board. And Ralph Whitworth will step up as interim chairman.
Computerworld’s James Niccolai reported, “Hewlett-Packard’s Ray Lane is giving up his role as chairman amid ongoing shareholder disapproval of HP’s troubled Autonomy acquisition. Lane will remain on HP’s board as a director but has given up his position as chairman, HP said Thursday. In addition, two of HP’s longest-serving board members have resigned their seats altogether.”
Steve Schaefer with Forbes noted, “The move comes after Lane received something of a shareholder rebuke at HP’s March 20 shareholder meeting, where he received only 59% of the vote for re-election to the board. Prior to the meeting several of the firm’s directors had been the target of shareholder ire, largely stemming from a series of missteps that led to multiple CEO changes over the past several years and November’s $8.8 billion write-down on the 2011 acquisition of Autonomy.”
All Things D’s Arik Hesseldahl added, “Hewlett-Packard’s new interim chairman, Ralph Whitworth, just issued a statement saying he believes in the company’s turnaround strategy. Whitworth, the head of Relational Investors LLC, has more skin in the game from a financial perspective than any other HP director. He owns about 17 million HP shares, worth about $800 million. Whitworth says the company’s board will be recruiting a new chairman and at least two other directors to replace G. Kennedy Thompson and John Hammergren, both of whom resigned today.”
According to Reuters, analysts have been mostly positive about the new more “shareholder-friendly” board composition. It quoted Wells Fargo analyst Maynard Um, who said, “While we believe the board changes were somewhat anticipated … (we) think the shakeup could result in longer-term ‘shareholder friendly’ actions, potentially from a capital allocation perspective.”