Wednesday, March 20, 2013

sparks flew but the fireworks fizzled

Hummn... close but no cigar?  In one of the most closely contested Board votes for a Fortune 500 company in years, all incumbents 'survived' but it was surprisingly close.

Below is paraphrased rom Juliette Ganside in The Guardian (no, I didn't go to the meeting): 

John Hammergren and Kennedy Thompson, rebuked for a series of missteps, narrowly won re-election to HP's board today -- 54% and 55% respectively voted "Yea".
Chairman Raymond had 41% voting against his return, Silicon Valley high-flyer Marc Andreesse had 30% naysayers, and the lead independent director, Ralph Gupta, drew 20% negative votes.  
A California Public Employees' Retirement System (Calpers) spokesperson expressed "extreme concern with HP's path in recent years".  Calpers, a public pension fund, owns more than 8 M shares.  They voted no on all five directors, and also with 15% of total voters sore at Ernst and Young auditors, mostly over the Autonomy debacle.  Ernst and Young booked $50M with HP last year, $20M in consuting rather than auditing activity.
Meg Whitman delivered an impassioned plea on behalf of the incumbent directors, saying that they were instrumental in helped 'right the ship' which is now 'on a successful recovery path'.  Hope so.
"Initial reports indicated that the stock has halved in the past 24 months, and that was the main reason for the negative votes and mood of shareholders."
I'm not so sure.

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