Hewlett-Packard: Tough years for a Silicon Valley pioneer
By James Niccolai
It’s been a turbulent decade at Hewlett-Packard, with board members and CEOs resigning or being ousted for all manner of colorful reasons, including strategic missteps, accusations of spying on journalists and alleged sexual harassment.
The latest moves came last week, when two directors resigned and Ray Lane said he would step down as chairman of HP’s board following HP’s ill-fated Autonomy acquisition.
The tumult started in 2005 with the ouster of Carly Fiorina, who had disagreements with the board over strategy. It worsened the following year with the so-called “pretexting” scandal and took a surreal turn three years ago when Mark Hurd resigned after an alleged affair with an actress.
In that time, HP’s reputation has been dented and its stock price has plummeted.
Following is a timeline of some of the main executive changes.
July 1999 – Carly Fiorina succeeds Lewis Platt to become HP’s CEO.
February 2005 – Fiorina is forced out for supposedly failing to execute on HP’s Compaq acquisition. Board member Patricia Dunn becomes chairman.
March 2005 – Mark Hurd replaces Fiorina as HP CEO.
September 2006 – Dunn resigns in HP’s pretexting scandal, which involved allegedly obtaining private phone numbers to identify the source of boardroom leaks. Hurd adds the role of chairman to his title. The leaks investigation also claims board members Tom Perkins and George Keyworth, and HP General Counsel Ann Baskins.
August 2010 – Hurd steps down amid a controversy involving the actress Jodie Fisher, who was a former HP contractor, and allegations that he falsified expense reports. Some believe he was merely unpopular inside of HP. Former SAP chief Leo Apotheker is named the new CEO.
January 2011 – Former eBay CEO Meg Whitman joins the HP board.
September 2011 – Apotheker is ousted after a turbulent year in which he said he might sell off HP’s PC business, and Whitman is made CEO. Former Oracle President Ray Lane becomes executive chairman.
March 2013 — Shareholders vote to reelect HP’s board despite fierce opposition from large investors angry over HP’s acquisition of Autonomy, a UK software firm. However, Lane and other board members receive low approval ratings.
April 2013 – Lane steps down as chairman, citing the low shareholder vote, but stays on the board. Board members John Hammergren and G. Kennedy Thompson resign. HP director Ralph Whitworth, the co-founder of an investment firm who joined the board in 2011, becomes interim chairman.
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