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HP Board Survives by the Skin of Its Teeth

They were opposed by two shareholder advisory firms and some of HP’s bigger institutional investors

HP's board survived the annual shareholders meeting intact despite attempts to unseat chairman Ray Lane and four other directors for failing to vet HP's $11 billion acquisition of Autonomy, which resulted in an $8.8 billion write-off a few months later.

They were opposed by two shareholder advisory firms and some of HP's bigger institutional investors.

Those targeted like Lane, John Hammergren, head of the board's finance committee and G. Kennedy Thompson, head of its audit committee, only squeaked by with little more than the minimum 50% of the vote.

Lane got 58.9%, Hamnmergren 53.9% and Thompson 55.2%.

According to Business Insider "This is highly unusual. At annual stock meetings, stockholders usually vote in board members with very high majorities, often over 90%. An 80%-range vote is considered a condemnation."

HP CEO Meg Whitman, by way of example, got about 98% of the vote.

The others targeted for dismissal included Marc Andreessen - who like Lane pushed for the acquisition. He got 69.8%. Lead independent director Rajiv Gupta got 80.3%.

Activist board member Ralph Whitman, who owns $800 million worth of HP stock, while praising the board hinted at changes coming. "All boards should evolve," he said "certainly when they've had the recent past this one does. You can expect some evolution of the board over the coming years - months maybe."

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Maureen O'Gara the most read technology reporter for the past 20 years, is the Cloud Computing and Virtualization News Desk editor of SYS-CON Media. She is the publisher of famous "Billygrams" and the editor-in-chief of "Client/Server News" for more than a decade. One of the most respected technology reporters in the business, Maureen can be reached by email at maureen(at)sys-con.com or paperboy(at)g2news.com, and by phone at 516 759-7025. Twitter: @MaureenOGara

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