HP Praises Channel, Sets Up Autonomy-EDS Investigative Committee

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Hewlett-Packard CEO Meg Whitman used Wednesday's HP shareholder meeting to talk about the need to right the company's financial model and said its indirect channel partners are key to growing the company.

HP, in response to a shareholder's question, also confirmed reports that it has set up a special committee including three of its directors to investigate issues surrounding the contentious acquisitions of both Autonomy and EDS.

Shareholders at the meeting also approved the existing slate of 11 directors on the company board and rejected shareholder proposals related to the company's human rights record and a potential requirement for HP's top executives to retain a significant number of HP shares as a way to encourage them to make less-risky decisions.


[Related: HP Q1 Revenue, Earnings Fall, But Prospects Grow On Channel Strengths]

However, a call by former Autonomy CEO Mike Lynch to press the board with questions about HP's allegation of fraud in relation to HP's blockbuster $10.3-billion acquisition of Autonomy fell on deaf ears.

In response to a question from a representative of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), a major HP shareholder, John Schultz, executive vice president and general counsel at HP, confirmed that the company has appointed a special committee to investigate issues related to the acquisitions of software developer Autonomy and systems integrator EDS.

Included on the committee are HP Directors Ralph Whitworth, Gary Reiner, and G. Kennedy Thompson.

Schultz said the committee retains counsel to assist with the process, and said it will be independent to meet legal requirements.

The SEIU representative protested the inclusion of Thompson because of conflict of interest related to the decision to acquire Autonomy, calling it a "grave concern."

Surprisingly, that was the only mention of Autonomy during the meeting despite on-going legal and financial issues related to the acquisition.

Calls prior to the shareholder meeting for rejecting the reappointment of directors involved in the decision to acquire Autonomy, as well as to reprimand Chairman Ray Lane for his role, went unheeded.

Whitman, as part of her presentation on HP's financial condition, said the company is focused on innovation to help solve customers' IT issues and committed to taking advantage of the scalability offered by HP's size and its wide range of products and services.

"We can reach our customers and partners in any corner of the world," she said.

NEXT: Whitman Counting On HP Innovation, Channels

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