HP chairman resigns over Autonomy

Following a shareholders’ meeting last month where investors voiced their discontent over Hewlett-Packard’s controversial $10.3 billion purchase of search company Autonomy, HP’s Ray Lane last week gave up his role as chairman of the company.

While Ray remains on the HP’s board of directors, however, two of the company’s longest serving board members, John Hammergen and G. Kennedy Thompson have resigned their seats entirely.

Thompson and Hammergen were among those reelected to their seats during the meeting, but just like Lane had received low approval ratings from shareholders.

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“After reflecting on the stockholder vote last month, I’ve decided to step down as executive chairman to reduce any distractions from HP’s ongoing turnaround,” Lane said in a statement.”…I will continue to serve HP as director to help finish the job.”

Although Lane was reelected with 59 per cent of HP shares voting in his favour, approval ratings for directors are typically much higher. There have been calls for the ouster of five members of HP’s board but shareholders later voted not to dump any of the company’s board of directors.

Lane was president of Oracle before he joined HP. He became HP chairman in 2010 the year HP appointed former SAP chief Leo Apotheker as CEO. Apotheker replaced Mark Hurd who left over a sexual harassment investigation.

In last month’s shareholder meeting, investors expressed concerns over HP’s performance and recent acquisitions.

HP had earlier reported that it had to write off $5 billion due to its controversial 2011 acquisition of Autonomy. The company alleges that Autonomy inflated its value though “serious accounting improprieties, disclosure failures and outright misrepresentation.”
 
The United states Seacurity and Exchange Commission and the United Kingdom’s Serious Fraud Office is looking into HPO’s allegations of fraud in the matter.

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