HP chairman clings on to seat

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HP chairman clings on to seat

Investor vote shows displeasure with board.

HP's chairman and three other board members only narrowly kept their seats after the company's shareholders voted on the line-up at HP's annual general meeting today.

Chairman Ray Lane and three others came close to losing their positions due to criticism about their roles in the botched $US11 billion acquisition of British software firm Autonomy.


The board election results, announced at HP's annual meeting today, signalled rising displeasure with a board that investors blamed for failing to conduct proper due dilligence before buying Autonomy. HP later accused the company's former executives of perpetrating accounting fraud, which they have denied.

Lane, whom influential proxy firm ISS recommended voting against, won just 58.88 percent of shareholder votes, well below last year's tally.

ISS and Glass Lewis, a governance analysis firm, had recommended voting against a roster of directors.

ISS gave the thumbs-down to Lane, John Hammergren and G. Kennedy Thompson. Glass Lewis recommended shareholders vote to remove four directors: venture capitalist Marc Andreessen, lead independent director Rajiv Gupta, Hammergren and Thompson.

Hammergren got 53.91 percent of shareholders' votes, while Thompson had 55.15 percent. Andreessen garnered 69.77 percent and Gupta got 80.25 percent.

Director Ralph Whitworth told shareholders to expect "some evolution" in the company's board in coming years or even months, responding to criticism over the Autonomy acquisition.

Whitworth said shareholders could expect some changes, but also defended HP's board, saying it was among the best he had seen. He acknowledged that HP's investors have "rightfully" questioned some of the transactions the company has made.

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