Hewlett-Packard recently announced it is replacing 4 members and adding an additional member to the board, but certain corporate governance experts are somewhat doubtful regarding some of the directors’ ability to act independently. At least one director sits on a board in Europe with current CEO Leo Apotheker, while at least 3 others were SAP customers, where Apotheker served as CEO for roughly 22 years.
“Such interconnections could inhibit new directors from disagreeing with HP management and asserting independent viewpoints, said Charles Elson, director of the Weinberg Center for Corporate Governance at the University of Delaware.”
HP Chairman Ray Lane commented that with the exception of 2, all the new board members knew Apotheker because of his former position as SAP’s CEO. Former board member, Dominique Senequier, runs AXA SA’s investment buyout arm AXA Private Equity, whose supervisory board includes the HP CEO.
The timing of the Hewlett-Packard board of directors makeover is further cause for questioning, lining up with the re-addressed Mark Hurd scandal and lawsuits alleging HP wasted $53 million – a sum given by Hurd in severance and related benefits. SiliconANGLE covered this topic as it unfolded, including the joining of 5 new board members and the latest news in the Hurd saga.