Hewlett-Packard chairman steps down due to health

Ralph Whitworth, who was named interim chairman last year to help revitalize Hewlett-Packard, has resigned for health reasons, the company said Tuesday.

HP didn’t disclose what health problem Whitworth has, but a source said he is suffering from recurrent cancer. Whitworth, whose last day at HP is Wednesday, also is taking a leave of absence from his investment company, Relational
Investors.

HP said its board will discuss appointing a new chairman at its next meeting.

Whitworth, an HP board member since 2011, was appointed chairman on an interim basis in April 2013 after former chairman Ray Lane stepped down following intense criticism over the company’s $11 billion purchase of British software company Autonomy. HP has acknowledged paying too much for the firm, claiming it was fooled about Autonomy’s value. Lane is still on HP’s board.

HP also has been under pressure from investors because its sales in recent years had slowed, due largely to declining consumer interest in its personal computers. However, many analysts have been pleased with the company’s progress lately.

“Ralph has been a friend and close advisor to me, the HP leadership team and every
member of the board for nearly three years,” HP CEO Meg Whitman said in a press release. “He has been a wonderful contributor to our efforts to turn HP around. Ralph’s passion and incredible mind for business will be deeply missed by all of us.”

Photo by Kirstina Sangsahachart, Daily News

Steve Johnson Steve Johnson (262 Posts)

Steve Johnson covers the microchip industry, cyber security and the big-technology sector that includes Hewlett-Packard, Oracle and Cisco Systems.