Hewlett-Packard Co. announced Thursday, April 4, that its board chair, Raymond Lane, would step down, and two of its board members, John Hammergren and G. Kennedy Thompson, would resign.
Lane will remain on the board of directors for the Palo Alto-based tech giant, but his position as board chairman will be taken up by Ralph Whitworth on an interim basis. The board is beginning a search for a permanent nonexecutive chairman.
Hammergren, Lane and Thompson each narrowly missed being voted off HP's board during last month's shareholders' meeting. Only 59 percent of shareholders voted to keep Lane on the board. 55 percent voted for Thompson, and 54 percent voted for Hammergren. It takes a simple majority of shareholder votes to oust a board member from the board.
"After reflecting on the stockholder vote last month, I've decided to step down as executive chairman to reduce any distraction from HP's ongoing turnaround," Lane said. "Since I joined HP's board a little over two years ago, I've been committed to board evolution to ensure our turnaround and future success. I'm proud of the board we've built and the progress we've made to date in restoring the company."
Major stakeholders in the company had targeted several board members for their roles in buying British software company Autonomy in 2011 for $11 billion. HP said in November that "accounting improprieties, misrepresentations and disclosure failures" caused it to massively overpay for Autonomy. The company said $5 billion of its $8.8 billion impairment charge that quarter was related to Autonomy being "extremely overvalued" at the time of its acquisition.
"Ray, John and Ken have invested a part of themselves in HP," said Meg Whitman, HP president and chief executive officer. "Their leadership is reflected in the early success we've had turning the company around. I'm grateful that Ray will continue to serve, and I wish John and Ken the very best. I also appreciate Ralph's willingness to increase his responsibilities during this transition."