Technology giant Hewlett-Packard has announced plans to replace four people on its board of directors as well as add another seat to the 12-member panel.
Joel Hyatt, John Joyce, Bob Ryan and Lucille Salhany will not stand for re-election at the company’s annual meeting in March. They will be replaced and a 13th board member will be appointed as well, officials confirmed.
A company source claimed that at least two of the departing board members were forced out as a result of their handling of the exit of former chief executive Mark Hurd, who quit in August.
Hurd’s forced exit angered many shareholders, who saw billions of dollars evaporate on the stock market. Shares in HP have only recovered recently from the episode.
HP shares fell by 31 cents (19p) to 46.47 dollars after the announcement on the board shake-up. In regular trading earlier, it gained 46 cents (28p), or about 1%, to close at 46.78 dollars on Thursday.
The new directors have been named as Booz&Co chief executive Shumeet Banerji; Gary Reiner, formerly of General Electric; Patricia Russo, former chief executive of Alcatel-Lucent; Dominique Senequier, chief executive of AXA Private Equity, and Meg Whitman, former chief executive of online auctioneer eBay.
Whitman is a billionaire who spent more than any candidate for a state-wide office in US history in her Republican campaign for California governor last year. She spent at least 174 million dollars (£109 million), all but 30 million dollars (£18 million) of it her own money, but was defeated by former two-term governor Jerry Brown in the November election.
Charles Elson, director of the Weinberg Centre for Corporate Governance at University of Delaware, claimed so many departures at once was not normal. He said: “Four directors going out at once is unusual. Boards should not have this much drama.”
Stifel Nicolaus analyst Aaron Rakers said the board shuffle is more extensive than he expected but does not think it will move the company’s stock. He said: “It’s interesting but is it a big catalyst? Probably not.”