HP revamps board; Change long overdue

Hewlett Packard moved to shake up its board of directors amid the resignation of CEO Mark Hurd last year. A handful of former technology executives were named to the board.
Written by Larry Dignan, Contributor

Hewlett Packard on Thursday moved to shake up its board of directors amid the resignation of CEO Mark Hurd last year.

HP has suggested an independent review of the board's decision with Hurd. And HP's board has been under fire for years. As a result, Chairman Ray Lane moved to make a few changes. According to HP, the new directors are:

  • Shumeet Banerji, CEO of Booz & Company;
  • Gary Reiner, former CEO of GE and a current special advisor to private equity firm General Atlantic;
  • Patricia Russo, former CEO at Alcatel-Lucent;
  • Dominique Senequier, CEO AXA Private Equity;
  • and Meg Whitman, former CEO of eBay.

The new directors bring an interesting mix to the board. There's private equity expertise, which will be handy for acquisitions, and a good bit of tech savvy.

Incumbent directors Joel Hyatt, John Joyce, Robert Ryan and Lucille Salhany won't stand for re-election.

In a statement, Lane said the move will diversify the board and bring expertise.

The board shakeup arrives as HP plans to launch an investigation to Hurd's departure.

Hurd resigned from his position at HP in August 2010 in what appeared to be a sexual harassment scandal but was scaled down after it was learned that Hurd did not violate the company’s harassment policy but did turn in some questionable expense reports.

The new investigation would be conducted by outside counsel, as well as directors who were named to the board after Hurd’s resignation - which would be new CEO Leo Apotheker, the former SAP CEO, and chairman  Lane, who is the former president of Oracle. The Apotheker-Lane combo is designed to make HP more of a software player.

Since Hurd's resignation has been a real soap opera. The Hurd saga was one of the stranger tech events of 2010. First, there’s the unexpected Friday afternoon resignation over fudged expense reports and sexual harassment allegations. Then there’s the spectacle of Oracle CEO Larry Ellison defending Hurd and then hiring him. Toss in the TomorrowNow trial where Oracle tried to call out Apotheker and it's been an interesting time for HP.

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