Monday, February 25, 2013

My Nominee For HP's Board

An arm of the labor organization "Change to Win" is coordinating a meeting among a few large HP shareholders and a committee of HP directors in front of the annual meeting and elections. We've been talking about this serially disastrous board of directors since 2010.

Looking at the basic composition of this board, it is overweight finance, venture capital, private equity types--people from "the Valley."  It has CEOs with experience in management consulting, specialty chemicals and telecommunications gear.

What's missing?  What about some real, leading edge engineering experience?  Management is charged with building the next generation of products on a shorter cycle than ever before in corporate history.  Someone to interface with the organization in this critical area is missing.  I also don't mean another MBA who has administered an organization, but someone who's been involved in the process personally from the ground up to the highest level.

HP has to sell a lot of value propositions to its customers: servers, software, applications support, security, computing devices, smart phones and consulting services.  What about sales and marketing, with a technical background too?  I think that inviting Marissa Mayer to join HP's board would be a real step forward for the company, employees and its board.  The recent decision to run Android on HP tablets couldn't hurt.  Also, in reading a lot of material recently about Google, Marissa Mayer's name came up often as someone within Google who was savvy, articulate, visionary, hands on, and got things done. She was also in charge of engineers in her job.  She'd be my first choice.

Lynn Turner, with over thirty years in public accounting and a few years as the Chief Accountant for the SEC, writes in today's Wall Street Journal,
"Investor representatives Lynn Turner, a trustee of Colorado Public Employees' Retirement Association, and Michael Garland, who oversees corporate governance for public-employee pension funds for New York City's comptroller, said they hope to hear that H-P is seeking new directors. Even without replacements ready, H-P investors should now "take some of the longer serving directors and throw them overboard," Mr. Turner said."
That's pretty tough talk for an accountant.

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