HP Searching For New General Counsel After Holston Departs

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Michael J. Holston, executive vice president and general counsel at Hewlett-Packard, is leaving " to pursue other opportunities," the Palo Alto, Calif.-based company said Monday.

HP says it has launched a formal search for Holston's replacement and will consider both internal and external candidates. David W. Healy, partner and co-chair of the Mergers & Acquisition Group at Fenwick & West LLP, serve as HP’s general counsel on an interim basis.

Holston joined HP in February 2007 but had worked with the company over the course of the previous decade on various legal and regulatory issues. In addition to overseeing HP’s global legal function, Holston was responsible for HP’s compliance, ethics, privacy and government affairs functions and for the HP Company Foundation.

"Mike has been an exceptional leader at HP and a great contributor to the company’s mission," HP CEO Meg Whitman said in a statement. "The entire company wishes him well in his future endeavors."

In March 2009 during a meeting of the Members of Coalition for Patent Fairness, Holston spoke out in support of the proposed Patent Reform Act of 2009, noting that numerous patents submitted by HP were being slowed by frivolous lawsuits.

"We're supporters of a patent system that protects patent rights in a sound and wise way. At that same time, we're constantly the target of patent lawsuits, many of which are frivolous," Holston said at the time. "That time could be much better spent innovating and developing products that will help the economy recover."

Healy represented HP in its acquisition of business analytics startup Vertica, which closed in March, and on HP's $89 million sale of its video and telepresence products to Polycom, which closed in June.

Holston is the latest in a string of high profile HP executive departures this year, a list that includes Marius Haas (senior vice president and general manager, HP Networking), Tom Iannotti (vice president of HP Enterprise Services), Gary Budzinski (vice president of HP Technology Services), Thomas Hogan (executive vice president of enterprise business sales and marketing) and Joe Bottazzi (senior vice president and general manager of HP's Technology Services Americas).

In June, Ann Livermore, executive vice president of enterprise business, left her position and joined HP's Board of Directors. Pete Bocian, executive vice president and chief administrative officer, and Randy Mott, executive vice president and CIO, also left HP at that time.

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