Quoted: on how the HP board shuffle wasn’t so easy

“[Boards] are like the Hotel California. Directors check in but they never check out.”

William Patterson, executive director of CtW Investment Group, who started the shareholder battle against Ray Lane and other members of the Hewlett-Packard board. The New York Times reported over the weekend that the director shuffle HP announced earlier this month — John Hammergren and G. Kennedy Thompson will leave in May and Lane stepped aside as chairman but will remain on the board — was portrayed by the company as voluntary on the part of the directors (who each got less than 60 percent of investors’ re-election vote) but really wasn’t. CEO Meg Whitman, other board members and the company’s largest shareholder had to do a lot of persuading to get Lane to relinquish the chairman role, according to the NYT’s sources. Even then, he insisted on staying on the board. But Lane told the newspaper he “stepped down as chairman because I thought it was the right thing to do.” It looks like for former Oracle president Lane during the month of April, when it rains, it pours: Sure, he has his defenders, but another company where he is director, Fisker Automotive, is in financial and legal trouble. Now the NYT report paints him as stubborn and deaf to the will of the shareholders.

 

Photo of Ray Lane in a Fisker Karma by Gary Reyes/Mercury News archives

 

 

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