With waning shareholder support, Ray Lane has stepped down as HP’s chairman of the board. Board member Ralph Whitworth will take Lane’s seat as chairman. Whitworth is chairman of Relational Investors. Also resigning are two other HP directors, John Hammergren and G. Kennedy Thompson.
Lane, a managing partner at Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, has been under pressure to resign. In March, the effort took a new turn when some of the larger shareholders sought to block the re-election of Lane and the other board members due to their lack of scrutiny over acquisitions. In particular, the discontent stems from the acquisition of Autonomy, which HP acquired in 20011 for $11 billion. A year later, the company wrote off $8.8 billion from the acquisition.
According to the Wall Street Journal, Lane decided to resign after getting re-elected to the board with only 58.9 percent of the vote. Whitworth said Lane did not feel he had a mandate from the shareholders to remain chairman of the board.
HP has seen tremendous turmoil. In 2006, Patricia Dunn resigned over a spying scandal. In 2010, the board ousted Mark Hurd and hired Léo Apotheker, who led the Autonomy acquisition. He was fired last year and replaced by Meg Whitman, the current CEO.