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Ex-eBay CEO lands post-purge HP board seat

Rejected by the populace, selected by Lane

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Hewlett-Packard's non-executive chairman Ray Lane, who took over the board of directors following the departure of chief executive Mark Hurd, is cleaning house.

Effective January 21, HP is adding five new people to the board and is showing four others to the door. The changes announced by Lane Thursday will eventually shrink the HP board from 17 to 13.

The four directors that will not stand for re-election include John Joyce, formerly chief financial officer at IBM; Joel Hyatt, vice chairman of cable and satellite TV company Current Media; Lucille Salhany, president and CEO of media consulting company JHMedia and a partner in Echo Bridge Entertainment; and Robert Ryan, who was chief financial officer at Medtronic before he retired in 2005.

The new heavy hitter on the HP board is none other than Meg Whitman, who was president and CEO of eBay for a decade and who last year ran to succeed Arnold Schwarzenegger as governor of California, on behalf of the Republican Party. Whitman lost to her Democrat rival Jerry Brown after spending $144m of her own dough on the campaign and trading on her experience turning eBay from a small auction site with 30 staff to a Fortune-listed operation with 15,500 employees.

The revamped board also now includes Shumeet Banerji, CEO of management consulting firm Booz & Company; Gary Reiner, formerly the chief information officer at General Electric and currently a special advisor to private equity firm General Atlantic; Patricia Russo, the former CEO at telecom gear maker Alcatel-Lucent; and Dominique Senequier, CEO of AXA Private Equity.

In addition to these, HP's board consists of Lane and president and CEO, Leo Apotheker, formerly co-CEO at software giant SAP. Marc Andreessen, Netscape wunderkind and hotshot equity player, plans to stay on the board. So does Larry Babbio, formerly vice chairman and president of telco Verizon; Sari Baldauf, former general manager of the networks business at Nokia; Rajiv Gupta, former chairman and CEO of chemical company Rohm and Haas; John Hammergren, CEO and chairman of healthcare company McKesson; and Ken Thompson, former CEO at financial services giant Wachovia.

The board changes come just as rumors are going around that Apotheker is getting ready to do some shaking up of his own, with top HP executives changing jobs or being let go while Apotheker seeks to bolster HP's software businesses and steer clear of low-profit businesses. ®

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