HP adds ex-Alcatel-Lucent CEO Russo, eBay's Whitman to board

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HP adds ex-Alcatel-Lucent CEO Russo, eBay's Whitman to board

Alex Scroxton

Former Alcatel-Lucent CEO Patricia Russo, who was ditched in 2008 after presiding over a string of poor results and a boardroom spat, has joined HP's board in a shake-up following the appointment of Léo Apotheker as CEO.

Russo, who also holds board level positions at General Motors and ALCOA, struggled to hold things together at Alcatel-Lucent in the immediate aftermath of its 2006 merger, and fell out of favour amid talk of a culture clash between French and American management.

HP non-executive chairman of the board, Raymond Lane, praised her as an "experienced executive with extensive global business experience, a broad understanding of the tech industry and strong management, operations and governance skills."

Altogether, HP has named five new faces to its board, bringing the total number to 17. However, this will drop again soon as board members Joel Hyatt, John Joyce, Bob Ryan and Lucille Salhany are not standing for re-election in March.

Also prominent among the new hires is Meg Whitman, the former CEO of eBay, who last year made a bid to succeed Arnold Schwarzenegger as governor of California, a fight she lost to Democratic party veteran Jerry Brown.

In an ironic twist, former HP CEO Carly Fiorina, who ran for the US senate as a Republican candidate, was soundly rejected at the ballot box the very same day.

The three other new faces are Shumeet Banerji, CEO of Booz & Co; Gary Reiner, ex-CIO of General Electric; and Dominique Senequier, CEO of AXA Private Equity.

The move has been taken as an attempt to refresh a board that many viewed as past its prime, a fact confirmed by Lane in an interview with US press.

"With Léo coming in as CEO, we both thought it was appropriate to look at the board," he said.

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