Hewlett-Packard Company (HPQ) Chairman Ray Lane Steps Down

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Hewlett-Packard Company (NYSE:HPQ) announced today that its chairman Ray Lance decided to relinquish his position as the company’ executive chairman of the board  after the result of the shareholders vote during its annual meeting last month.

Hewlett-Packard Company (HPQ) Chairman Ray Lane Steps Down

Lane will remain as director of the company. Ralph Whitworth will serve as chairman of Hewlett-Packard Company (NYSE:HPQ) temporarily until the PC maker found permanent executive to assume the position. Only 58.9 percent of the shareholders of the company voted for Lane’s re-election.

“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. 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. I will continue to serve HP as a director and help finish the job,” Lane said in a statement.

Shareholders were also unhappy with some of Hewlett-Packard Company (NYSE:HPQ)’s board of directors as a result of a series of mistakes including the acquisition of the software firm, Anomaly wherein the company reported an $8.8 billion accounting charged in the fourth quarter of 2012.  The PC maker changed its CEO multiple times over the past several years.

Hewlett-Packard Company (NYSE:HPQ) also announced the departure of its two directors  Ken Thompson and John Hammergren after serving eight and seven years, respectively. Thompson and Lane will serve the company until its next board meeting in May. The company started its search for new directors.

“Ray, John and Ken are terrific leaders, and they’re passionate about doing the right thing for HP. From here we will continue to recruit outstanding directors, strengthen our governance and do the best we can—the best we know how—for stockholders. Meg is leading a Herculean turnaround, so most of all, we must build and maintain the best possible leadership structure for Meg and HP’s entire team to succeed,” said HP CEO Meg Whitman.

Whitman added that the three executives invested a part of themselves in HP as reflected in the early success of the company in its effort to turn it around.

The company said the role of the lead independent director currently held by Rajiv Gupta will be removed. Gupta will remain on the board and he will replace Thompson as chairman of HP’s audit committee. Gary Reiner will assume Gupta’s role as chairman of the nominating and governance committee.

Meanwhile, in a separate statement, Whitworth said, “The firm that I represent, Relational Investors, owns roughly $800 million worth of HP’s stock. So, I can assure you that my interests are completely aligned with those of our shareholders. Besides its enviable industry position and unbelievable products and product pipeline, let me tell you why I believe in this company. It comes down to two things—people and leadership.”

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