January 20, 2011 / 9:31 PM / 8 years ago

Hewlett-Packard shakes up board, four to leave

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Hewlett-Packard Co is shaking up its board, bringing in five new directors including former eBay chief Meg Whitman, as new CEO Leo Apotheker remakes the company.

HP’s board had been criticized by analysts, shareholders and other business leaders after it forced out Mark Hurd as CEO in a controversial fashion.

HP said 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, as well as international experience.

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.

The four are all leaving voluntarily, HP said. Hyatt and Joyce have been directors since 2007, Ryan since 2004, and Salhany since 2002.

The changes will leave HP with 13 board members.

“With Leo coming in as CEO, we both thought it was appropriate to look at the board,” said HP Chairman Ray Lane in an interview.

Gleacher & Co analyst Brian Marshall said investors should welcome the move.

“Net-net I think this is a big positive. To shake it up a little bit and get some of the old-school guys out of there and get some new -school blood in there, highlighted by Meg Whitman, this is a positive development,” he said.

Apotheker, the former CEO of SAP AG, took over as chief of HP in November.

“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 anlayst Shaw Wu.

Hurd’s departure in August stunned investors and sent shares tumbling 8 percent in the first trading day after the announcement. Now an Oracle co-president, Hurd left under a cloud of sexual harassment accusations, although the board found no evidence to back up that allegation.

HP instead accused Hurd of filing inaccurate expense reports to conceal a “close personal relationship” with a former contractor, although Hurd’s representatives have disputed that.

Shares of Palo Alto, California-based HP were down 4 cents at $46.74 following announcement of the board changes, which came after the stock closed down 0.9 percent at $46.78 on the New York Stock Exchange.

Reporting by Gabriel Madway; Editing by Steve Orlofsky, Gary Hill

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