Feeds

HP shareholders advised to give chairman Ray Lane the boot

Lane should have poked around a bit in the Autonomy deal

Next gen security for virtualised datacentres

Two leading proxy advisors are trying to convince HP shareholders to boot out several directors over the ill-fated acquisition of Autonomy, including chairman Ray Lane.

ISS, the world's top proxy advisor - a firm hired by shareholders to make recommendations and sometimes cast votes on their behalf - has told HP stockholders to get rid of Lane, marking one of the few times it has ever advised anyone against re-electing a chair, according to a report seen by the Financial Times, Bloomberg and others.

ISS advised Wal-Mart shareholders last year to oust chairman Robson Walton and other directors for failing to fully investigate allegations of widespread bribery by company officials in Mexico. In 2009, it advised against re-electing Bank of America's chair Ken Lewis, after its expensive acquisition of Merrill Lynch.

At HP, ISS is also advising against retaining board members John Hammergren and G Kennedy Thompson, while the second proxy advisor, Glass Lewis, is recommending that shareholders get rid of those two along with Marc Andreessen and Rajiv Gupta.

“The company recorded $18 billion in write-downs during fiscal 2012, amounting to approximately 54 per cent of the company’s market value,” ISS said.

“These unusually high writedowns, in particular the Autonomy writedown, stem from ill-advised acquisitions, strategic failures, and poor deployment of shareholders’ capital.”

Both of the advisory firms say that the directors and chair weren't duly diligent on the acquisition of Autonomy, which HP bought for $11.1bn and then had to write down by $8.8bn last year.

ISS also pointed out that the firm has gone through a lot of changes in the last few years and seems to lack firm direction.

“HP’s challenges with multiple CEO turnovers over the last three years, the back-and-forth in the decision to spin-off or sell its PC business, and announcement of the goodwill impairment charges related to the EDS and Autonomy transactions likely exacerbated the decline in the company’s stock price,” the advisor said.

The proxy firms aren't the first to suggest that heads should roll over the Autonomy debacle. CtW Investment Group stopped short of asking shareholders to get rid of Lane, but it also suggested Thompson and Hammergren should go and urged against keeping Ernst and Young as HP's independent auditors.

HP said in a statement that it "fully supports the election of each of the director nominees named in the proxy statement".

The company has claimed that Autonomy had inflated its value prior to its acquisition, alleging that there were "serious accounting improprieties, disclosure failures and outright misrepresentations" that convinced HP to make the buy. ®

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
6 Obvious Reasons Why Facebook Will Ban This Article (Thank God)
Clampdown on clickbait ... and El Reg is OK with this
No, thank you. I will not code for the Caliphate
Some assignments, even the Bongster decline must
Kaspersky backpedals on 'done nothing wrong, nothing to fear' blather
Founder (and internet passport fan) now says privacy is precious
TROLL SLAYER Google grabs $1.3 MEEELLION in patent counter-suit
Chocolate Factory hits back at firm for suing customers
Mozilla's 'Tiles' ads debut in new Firefox nightlies
You can try turning them off and on again
Sit tight, fanbois. Apple's '$400' wearable release slips into early 2015
Sources: time to put in plenty of clock-watching for' iWatch
Ex-IBM CEO John Akers dies at 79
An era disrupted by the advent of the PC
prev story

Whitepapers

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup
IT departments are embracing cloud backup, but there’s a lot you need to know before choosing a service provider. Learn all the critical things you need to know.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Backing up Big Data
Solving backup challenges and “protect everything from everywhere,” as we move into the era of big data management and the adoption of BYOD.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?