Struggling HP shakes up much-criticized board of directors

The chairman and the two longest-standing board members resign, as calls for change in HP's troubled management grow

Hewlett-Packard's Ray Lane is giving up his role as chairman amid ongoing shareholder disapproval of HP's troubled Autonomy acquisition. Lane will stay on HP's board as a director but has given up his position as chairman, HP said Thursday. In addition, two of HP's longest-serving board members -- John Hammergren and G. Kennedy Thompson -- have resigned their seats altogether, after being reelected just last month.

The news comes after some of HP's largest shareholders tried to have Lane and other HP directors voted off the board at a meeting last month.

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HP's board has been under fire for its role in approving HP's acquisition of Autonomy for about $10.3 billion in 2011. HP subsequently took a massive charge for the acquisition because, it says, Autonomy's business wasn't as healthy as it thought.

HP has struggled since 2001's acquisition of Compaq Computer over the objections of HP cofounder Bill Hewlett and a string of controversial CEOs -- Carly Fiorina, Mark Hurd, and Léo Apotheker -- who moved HP into several businesses where its performance has been problematic, such as business cloud services, or spectacular failures, such as its acquisition of Palm's mobile business. Meanwhile, HP's once-core PC and printer businesses have declined as the market has changed to new technologies such as non-Windows tablets.

HP director Ralph Whitworth will take over as chairman while the company finds a permanent replacement for Lane, HP said. Lane is a former president of Oracle and was made chairman of HP in November 2010.

James Niccolai covers data centers and general technology news for IDG News Service. Follow James on Twitter at @jniccolai. James's e-mail address is