Hewlett-Packard (NYSE:HPQ) is replacing four directors, a move that comes on the heels of the computer maker’s independent probe into the circumstances surrounding former chief executive Mark Hurd’s ouster last year.
Incumbent directors Joel Hyatt, John Joyce, Robert Ryan and Lucille Salhany will not stand for re-election at the company's annual stockholder meeting in March, the company said.
Raymond J. Lane, non-executive chairman of the H-P board, said the veteran directors have offered “invaluable service to H-P over many years,” noting they worked “tireless and effectively to navigate H-P through a difficult leadership change in the last six months.”
But according to Bloomberg, the board shake-up is said to be an attempt to remove directors loyal to Hurd.
The independent investigation into Hurd’s ouster, which was proposed in a federal suit in San Jose, California, on Jan. 14, claims that H-P directors wasted corporate money by awarding Hurd, who resigned amid sexual harassment allegations in August, $53 million in severance. Hurd now serves as co-president of Oracle (NASDAQ:ORCL).
The examination is being conducted by an outside counsel and a group of directors who joined Palo Alto, Calif-based company's board following Hurd’s departure. Shareholder plaintiffs estimated the separation agreement was worth about $40 million in cash, stock and options, which they called “corporate waste,” according to Reuters.
Five new directors are being added in the outgoing directors’ place, bringing the total count on the board to 13.
Being elected are Shumeet Banerji, chief executive officer of Booz & Co; Gary Reiner, former chief information officer of General Electric (NYSE:GE) and a current special advisor to private equity firm General Atlantic; Patricia Russo, former CEO of Alcatel-Lucent (NYSE:ALU); Dominique Senequier, CEO of AXA Private Equity; and Meg Whitman, former CEO of eBay (NASDAQ:EBAY).
“The addition of these new directors will further diversify the outstanding talents and wide-ranging experience that our directors already bring to HP,” Lane said. “Together they will provide our board and management team with new insight and perspectives relating to H-P's business and the rapidly changing technology industry.”
Banerji, 51, is a respected strategic advisor who brings the board international, financial, operational and management experience, as well as an understanding of the issues facing companies and governments in both mature and emerging markets around the world, according to Lane.
Reiner, 56, will voice the needs of customers while on the board, according to Lane, and will utilize his insight into how IT can help global companies succeed.
Russo, 58, has extensive global business experience and a broad understanding of the tech industry, according to Lane. Senequier, 57, is an influential financier who Lane says brings broad international perspective and a focus on long-term growth.
Meg Whitman, 54, is a “true visionary and thought leader who brings to the HP board unique experience in developing transformative business models, building global brands and driving sustained growth and expansion,” Lane said.
Whitman served as eBay CEO for 10 years, ending in 2008.
Lane said he is confident that H-P shareholders, customers and employees will benefit from the new directors’ talents and ideas.