HP replaces four board members

Amid investigations into the scandalous departure of former CEO Mark Hurd, Hewlett-Packard says goodbye to four members, and adds five more.

Erica Ogg Former Staff writer, CNET News
Erica Ogg is a CNET News reporter who covers Apple, HP, Dell, and other PC makers, as well as the consumer electronics industry. She's also one of the hosts of CNET News' Daily Podcast. In her non-work life, she's a history geek, a loyal Dodgers fan, and a mac-and-cheese connoisseur.
Erica Ogg
3 min read
HP Chairman Ray Lane
HP Chairman Ray Lane. Hewlett Packard

Just a few months removed from the Mark Hurd scandal, Hewlett-Packard's board of directors is getting a makeover.

HP said today that it is replacing four board members and adding an additional seat. Out are Joel Hyatt, John Joyce, Robert Ryan, and Lucille Salhany.

In are newcomers Shumeet Banerji, CEO of Booz & Company; Gary Reiner, former CIO at GE; Patricia Russo, former CEO of Alcatel-Lucent; Dominique Senequier, CEO of AXA Private Equity; and Meg Whitman, former president and CEO of eBay and recent California gubernatorial candidate. That brings the HP board seat count to 13, up from 12.

All five new directors also will stand for re-election at HP's next annual meeting in March.

"The addition of these new directors will further diversify the outstanding talents and wide-ranging experience that our directors already bring to HP," Ray Lane, HP's non-executive chairman of the board of directors, said in a statement.

Lane also thanked the four retiring members, noting that they "worked tirelessly and effectively to navigate HP through a difficult leadership change in the last six months."

Former lead independent director of the board Ryan called it "a great privilege to serve on the HP board and see this outstanding company build on its legacy as a technology leader and innovator." He also expressed confidence in new CEO Leo Apotheker and Lane.

"HP has a strong leadership team in place to continue moving the company forward," he said.

The timing of the replacement seems tied to an investigation HP is ready to start into the circumstances surrounding former CEO Hurd's resignation from the company. Hurd, who is now president of HP rival Oracle, resigned as chief executive in August after sexual harassment allegations led to an inquiry that found he had misreported his expenses to the company.

Last night, it was reported that HP wants this investigation to be "independent" and led by a committee of outside attorneys and board members who joined the Silicon Valley giant after Hurd's departure. As of last night, that meant only two board members qualified: Apotheker and Lane.

The new slate of directors would mean all of them could qualify to participate in the investigation. The remaining six incumbents would not: Marc Andreessen, Lawrence T. Babbio Jr., Sari M. Baldauf, Rajiv L. Gupta, John H. Hammergren, and G. Kennedy Thompson.

Adding a handful of new faces is also a way for Apotheker, who's still in the process of making himself at home at HP, to add a some new blood and perhaps sever some old alliances. Until today, some of the directors were approaching a decade on the board. Salhany was named a director in 2002, Ryan in 2004, and Joyce and Hyatt in 2007. The longest-serving remaining incumbents have been on the board since 2005, when Hurd first came to HP.

In an interview on CNBC today, Lane said the departures were "voluntary" and unrelated to Hurd's ousting last summer.

The new board members won't have much time to get comfortable in their new seats before jumping into action. Besides its own investigation, HP is facing shareholder lawsuits over the severance package Hurd received upon his departure. The Securities and Exchange Commission is also poking around, asking questions about Hurd's alleged revelation of an impending purchase of Electronic Data Systems to a former contractor months before it was announced to the public.

This post was updated several times, most recently at 2:34 p.m. PT.