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HP said that with Lane stepping down as executive chairman, the role of lead independent director, currently held by Rajiv Gupta, is no longer necessary and will be eliminated. Gupta will remain on the board and will replace Thompson as chairman of the Audit Committee.
Lane characterized HP's $11.1 billion blockbuster acquisition of U.K. software maker Autonomy in 2011, initiated by former HP CEO Leo Apotheker, as a cloud computing game-changer aimed at driving higher investor returns with a unique software asset.
But only 15 months later, HP claimed it was hoodwinked by Autonomy, taking an $8.8 billion charge against earnings after discovering what HP alleges were "serious accounting improprieties."
In a statement on HP website HPnext.com, Whitworth promised in the coming months "further evolution" of the HP board. "We will recruit a world-class chairman to take my place as soon as possible, and we also hope to recruit at least two other outstanding directors before the end of this year," said Whitworth. "While sooner is better, rest assured we will not allow the rush of time to compromise our focus on recruiting the best of the best."