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Wednesday, 06 March 2013 10:33

Analysts call for HP board sackings

Written by Nick Farrell



Didn’t do their homework

Two leading proxy advisers have told the maker of expensive printer ink HP to fire several directors for their role in the ill-fated 2011 acquisition of Autonomy. On the shopping list of people who will have to go is Chairman Ray Lane.

ISS, which is closely followed by investors seeking guidance on controversial issues, has suggested voting against Lane, a managing partner at high-powered Silicon Valley venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins. They also gave fellow board members John Hammergren and Kennedy Thompson the thumbs-down.

The call for Lane’s sacking marked one of the few "special cases" in which ISS has advised shareholders against re-electing the chairman of the board. The last time it did this was in 2012 when it recommended against Wal-Mart Stores Chairman Robson Walton and other directors for failing to fully investigate allegations of widespread bribery by company officials in Mexico.

In 2009, ISS advised shareholders to vote against re-electing Bank of America Chairman Ken Lewis, following its costly acquisition of Merrill Lynch. Meanwhile Glass Lewis recommended shareholders vote to remove Marc Andreessen and Rajiv Gupta, along with Hammergren and Thompson.

It said that the directors had made inadequate due diligence relating to the acquisition of Autonomy. HP, which acquired the British firm for $11.1 billion, took a massive writedown on its value last year.

Nick Farrell

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