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Thursday March 7, 2013

Leading proxy firms seek ouster of HP chairman, directors


new york: Two leading proxy advisers on Tuesday urged Hewlett-Packard Co shareholders to oust several directors for their role in the ill-fated 2011 acquisition of British software company Autonomy, with No. 1 proxy firm ISS issuing a rare call to reject chairman Ray Lane.

ISS, closely followed by investors seeking guidance on controversial issues, has suggested voting against Lane, a managing partner at high-powered Silicon Valley venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins. They also gave fellow board members John Hammergren and G. Kennedy Thompson the thumbsdown.

The recommendation against Lane marked one of the few “special cases” in which ISS has advised shareholders against re-electing the chairman of the board.

In 2012, it recommended against Wal-Mart Stores Inc chairman Robson Walton and other directors for failing to fully investigate allegations of widespread bribery by company officials in Mexico.

And in 2009, ISS advised shareholders to vote against re-electing Bank of America chairman Ken Lewis, following its costly acquisition of Merrill Lynch.

“It doesn't happen that often,” said Charles Elson, a University of Delaware professor specialising in corporate governance.

Also on Tuesday, Glass Lewis recommended shareholders vote to remove four directors. Reuters

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