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HP Board Reshuffles In Wake Of Hurd Dismissal

Four directors said to be close to the ouster of HP's former CEO will step down in March, as five new members come on board.

HP is reshuffling its board, with four members said to be close to last summer's ouster of chief executive Mark Hurd not standing for re-election, and five new directors joining the governing body.

The four board members who won't seek re-election during the annual stockholders meeting in March include Joel Hyatt, vice chairman of Current Media; John Joyce, vice chairman and CFO of Silver Springs Networks; Robert Ryan, retired CFO from Medtronic; and Lucille Salhany, president and chief executive of JHMedia. The four will stay on until March.

Hyatt and Joyce were the most vocal supporters of Hurd before he was fired for fudging expense reports to cover up time spent with former soft-core porn actress Jodie Fisher, who was a marketing contractor at HP. Fisher filed a sexual harassment suit against Hurd that was later settled out of court, according to The Wall Street Journal, quoting people familiar with the matter. Ryan and Salhany led the board's investigation into Hurd.

No reason was given for the decision of the four board members to leave. Raymond Lane, non-executive board chairman, thanked the members for their "insights, counsel, and commitment to HP's business."

"These directors worked tirelessly and effectively to navigate HP through a difficult leadership change in the last six months," Lane said in a statement.

The new directors, who bring the total number of board members to 17 until the stockholder meeting, include Shumeet Banerji, CEO of Booz & Co.; Gary Reiner, former chief information officer of General Electric; Patricia Russo, former CEO of Alcatel-Lucent; Dominique Senequier, CEO of AXA Private Equity; and Meg Whitman, former president and CEO of eBay and a former gubernatorial candidate in California who lost to Jerry Brown in November. The five new directors will have to be approved by stockholders in March.

"The addition of these new directors will further diversify the outstanding talents and wide-ranging experience that our directors already bring to HP," Lane says. "Each is a widely respected and deeply experienced business leader, and together they will provide our board and management team with new insight and perspectives relating to HP's business and the rapidly changing technology industry."

Hurd's dismissal was criticized by many observers of the tech industry, who pointed out that HP's own investigation found no evidence of sexual harassment on the part of Hurd, who joined Oracle a month after his firing as co-president to help with Oracle's strategy of integrating its software with hardware it acquired in buying Sun Microsystems. Hurd was credited with boosting HP's presence in enterprise software and services through a series of bold acquisitions. HP named former SAP head Leo Apotheker to replace Hurd in September.

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