Four Hewlett-Packard board members who reportedly played a central role in the company’s decision about whether to replace CEO Mark Hurd are themselves being replaced, HP announced Thursday after U.S. financial markets closed.
Joel Hyatt, John Joyce, Robert Ryan and Lucille Salhany will not be up for re-election when the company has its annual shareholders meeting in March, HP said. It did not offer an explanation why, but the Wall Street Journal cited people familiar with the situation saying that Hyatt and Joyce were Hurd’s “most vocal supporters” when he was investigated for sexual harassment and that Ryan and Salhany led the board’s investigation against Hurd, who resigned in August.
Since then, the company has faced scrutiny — both internal and external — for the circumstances surrounding his departure, which occurred in the aftermath of sexual harassment charges leveled against him by Jodie Fisher, a former contractor with the company.
Five new directors have been named to the board: Shumeet Banerji, who is CEO of Booz & Company; Gary Reiner, former CIO of General Electric and a special adviser to General Atlantic, which is a private equity firm; Patricia Russo, former CEO of Alcatel-Lucent; Dominic Senequier, CEO of AXA Private Equity; and Meg Whitman, former president and CEO of eBay. Their board appointments will be voted on at the March shareholders meeting.
The board changes come on the heels of HP saying that it is seeking an outside investigation of Hurd’s ouster. Shareholders have filed suit against the company alleging that Hurd’s $53 million in severance is wasteful.
An internal investigation found that Hurd did not violate the company’s sexual harassment policy, but that he filed inaccurate expense reports to hide his relationship with her. He resigned Aug. 6 and became Oracle’s co-president a month later. Oracle CEO Larry Ellison has been a staunch and very vocal supporter of Hurd’s.