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HP chairman to meet with top investors over board spat

Chairman Ray Lane, along with three board members, will meet with Hewlett-Packard's top investors to stop an attempt to unseat him.

HP Executive Chairman Ray Lane
HP Executive Chairman Ray Lane HP

Hewlett-Packard chairman Ray Lane, along with three board members, will meet with some of his company's top investors to reassure them about the job they're doing, according to a new report.

Speaking to the Wall Street Journal in an interview published today, William Patterson, executive director of CtW Investment Group, a large HP shareholder, said that he and his supporters will lead a charge aimed at removing Lane and two of his fellow board members, John Hammergren and G. Kennedy Thompson, at the company's annual meeting on March 20.

That is, Patterson told the Journal, unless HP itself decides to change "the leadership of the board and its key committees."

According to the Journal, Lane's reported meeting with his company's top investors aims at hearing his detractors' complaints and attempt to quell the unrest. The Journal's sources say that the vote to remove Lane and others from the board will likely fail, but it's being taken seriously, nonetheless. In a statement to the Journal, HP said only that it looks "forward to discussing any concerns this particular group of investors may have."

HP hasn't had the best go at it over the last several years. The company's CEO office has been a revolving door, with current chief executive Meg Whitman finally delivering some much-needed consistency to the management team. The company has still, however, faced trouble competing in the mobile space and watched as Lenovo has continued its impressive growth. HP's $11 billion purchase of software company Autonomy has also been criticized by HP's investors. And now, they want some answers.

It's not clear what the future holds for HP's board. However, in an interview with the Journal, Anne Sheehan at the California State Teachers' Retirement System, which also owns a boatload of the company's shares, said that HP is "looking for new board members."

CNET has contacted HP for comment on the Journal's report. We will update this story when we have more information.