The individuals replacing these four are newcomers Shumeet Banerji, CEO of Booz & Company; Gary Reiner, former CIO at GE; Patricia Russo, former CEO of Alcatel-Lucent; Dominique Senequier, CEO of AXA Private Equity; and Meg Whitman, former president and CEO of eBay and a recent California gubernatorial candidate. This increases the number of board members at HP from 12 to 13.
All five of the new directors will also stand for re-election at HP’s next annual meeting in March. According to Ray Lane, HP’s non-executive chairman of the board of directors, “The addition of these new directors will further diversify the outstanding talents and wide-ranging experience that our directors already bring to HP. Lane, also in his statement, thanked the four retiring members saying that they “worked tirelessly and effectively to navigate HP through a difficult leadership change in the last six months.”
Robert Ryan, former lead independent director of the board, called it “a great privilege to serve on the HP board and see this outstanding company build on its legacy as a technology leader and innovator.” Ryan also went on to express his confidence in Lane as well as the new CEO Leo Apotheker. Ryan added, “HP has a strong leadership team in place to continue moving the company forward.”
These replacements seem to coincide with the investigation HP is ready to start into the circumstances surrounding the resignation of former CEO Mark Hurd from the company. Hurd, the now CEO of HP rival company Oracle, resigned as CEO back in August after sexual harassment allegations led to an inquiry which found that Hurd had misrepresented his expenses to the company.
HP reported that they want this investigation to be independent and led by a committee of outside attorneys and board members who joined HP after the resignation of Hurd. However, that means that only two board members will be eligible, Apotheker and Lane. However, with the new slew of Directors that just came in, this would mean that they all could participate.
Adding a bunch of new faces allows Aptheker to add new blood and cut old ties. Until this change, some directors were approaching nearly a decade on the board. Salhany was named a director back in 2002, Ryan in 2004 and Joyce and Hyatt were both added in 2007. The longest serving ones on the board now were added in 2005 when Hurd first arrived at the company.
Lane did clarify that the four members that left did so voluntarily and that their departure had nothing to do with Hurd’s. The only problem with the new members is that they will have little time to make themselves at home before jumping into the fray. Aside from the Hurd investigation, HP is facing shareholder lawsuits over the severance package Hurd received. The Securities and Exchange Commission is also snooping around and asking questions about Hurd revealing an impending purchase of Electronic Data Systems to a former contractor months before it was announced to the public.
HP has a lot on its plate at the moment and the new board members will definitely have their hands full in the coming months.
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