Hewlett Bounced From HP Board

April 29, 2002 (PLANSPONSOR.com) - As expected, on Friday Walter Hewlett, the son of one of the founders of Hewlett-Packard, lost his seat on the company's board of directors.

It was the first time in the firm’s 63-year history that no member of the founding families had a seat on the board.

Family Matters

Friday’s meeting was attended by only about 200 – 300 shareholders, according to the reports – a sharp contrast to the contentious gathering to decide on the $19 billion acquisition of Compaq Computer six weeks earlier.  HP CEO Fiorina said that over 80% of the ballots were cast in favor of the slate of directors put forth by the company.

Both Hewlett and Packard families, which owned or controlled about 18% of the firm’s stock, strongly opposed the $18 billion merger with Compaq Computer.  The four-month proxy battle finally culminated in a March 19 vote that HP says it won by a narrow margin – but which Hewlett is currently challenging in court.

Observers generally expect the Delaware judge to release his decision today or tomorrow at the latest.

HP had refused to renominate Hewlett after he sued to overturn the merger vote – and by the time Hewlett launched his suit, the deadline for shareholders to nominate other directors had passed.

Other Votes

In other votes, HP shareholders also confirmed Ernst & Young as the company’s auditor, while rejecting two resolutions by activist shareholders, both of which management opposed.  The shareholder proposals, each of which drew about 6% of the shares voted, called for HP to:

  • adopt a set of human and labor rights standards in China
  • prepare a report on increased recycling of personal computers

Elected in Friday’s vote were Hewlett-Packard chief executive Carly Fiorina, Philip M. Condit, Patricia C. Dunn, Sam Ginn, Richard A. Hackborn, George A. Keyworth II, Robert E. Knowling Jr. and Robert P. Wayman.