HP Shuffles Board, Adds Meg Whitman

(Reuters) –
Hewlett-Packard Co is shaking up a board criticized by many as
dysfunctional, bringing in five new directors including former eBay
chief Meg Whitman, as new CEO Leo Apotheker remakes the company.

HP’s board had for years come
under fire from shareholders and business leaders such as Oracle’s Larry
Ellison, most recently after it forced out Mark Hurd as CEO in
controversial fashion.

The new
directors will bring fresh thinking to the world’s largest technology
company by revenue, including much-needed expertise in areas such as
telecommunications and international experience, the company said.

In
addition to Whitman, HP named as directors Shumeet Banerji, CEO of Booz
& Co; Gary Reiner, former chief information officer of General
Electric Co; Patricia Russo, former CEO of Alcatel-Lucent; and Dominique
Senequier, CEO of AXA Private Equity.

The
technology giant said directors Joel Hyatt, John Joyce, Robert Ryan and
Lucille Salhany will not stand for reelection by shareholders.

"This
change was two things — the handling of the Mark Hurd situation, which
was very controversial, and that with a new CEO it makes sense to have
someone new," said Kaufman Bros analyst Shaw Wu.

Hurd
was accused last June of sexual harassment by a female contractor, but a
board investigation found no evidence to back that up. Hurd resigned
August 6 after the board said he filed inaccurate expense reports to
conceal a "close personal relationship" with that contractor, something
Hurd’s representatives have disputed.

The
four directors leaving are doing so voluntarily, HP said. Hyatt and
Joyce have been directors since 2007, Ryan since 2004, and Salhany since
2002. The changes leave HP with 13 board members.

According
to a source familiar with the matter, Salhany and Ryan pushed hard for
Hurd’s ouster from the outset. Hyatt and Joyce were more supportive of
Hurd at first but eventually went along with the unanimous decision to
seek his resignation.

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