HP chairman gives up top post

April 5, 2013 at 3:38 PM
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PALO ALTO, Calif., April 5 (UPI) -- U.S. technology giant Hewlett-Packard said board Chairman Raymond Lane would resign as chairman, but continue as a board member.

At a shareholder meeting in March, Lane was named on 59 percent of the ballots, which secured his re-election. However, a vote tally below 60 percent is considered a very poor showing, The New York Times reported Friday.

Two other board members, John Hammergren, who received 54 percent of the vote and G. Kennedy Thompson, who received 55 percent, left the board after receiving such weak support.

"Having under 60 percent is not a vote of confidence. They worked hard to secure support, and in the end they barely got a majority for these three people. It reflected the sins of the past," said Toni Sacconaghi, an industry analyst with Bernstein Research.

"Directors must be willing to ask tough questions, challenge assumptions and have the capacity to walk away from a deal that is unlikely to add value for shareholders," said ISS, a proxy advisory firm.

"That clearly didn't happen at HP, and shareholders hold Mr. Lane accountable for that failure," the firm said.

Lane was chairman when HP replaced CEO Mark Hurd with Leo Apotheker, Hurd having left quickly after it surfaced that he had had an affair with a contracted employee.

Apotheker didn't last a year, but while there he agreed to the acquisition of Autonomy, a British software company, for $11 billion.

That expensive deal has not paid off. In 2012, HP said they had been deceived about the health of the software firm and took an accounting charge of more than $8 billion on the deal.

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