* City backs removal of Hammergren, Thompson
* Funds hold 5.5 million shares
March 8 New York City's public pension funds on
Friday joined in an effort to oust two Hewlett-Packard Co
directors because of their support for the company's
2011 acquisition of British software maker Autonomy.
City Comptroller John C. Liu said the New York City Pension
Funds will vote against directors John H. Hammergren and G.
Kennedy Thompson "because of their failure to protect investors
from costly, misguided acquisitions." Two key proxy advisory
firms have also recommended voting against those directors.
"As the two longest-serving directors, they also bear
responsibility for approving HP's ill-advised acquisitions of
EDS and Palm, and for the board's hasty decision to hire Leo
Apotheker, whose short-lived tenure as CEO ended shortly after
the Autonomy acquisition that he engineered," Liu said.
The city's various funds hold a total of 5.5 million shares
in HP, worth nearly $116 million at Thursday's close. While not
among the company's largest shareholders, the city pension funds
are prominent investors and their decision is likely to be
widely noticed by other municipal shareholders.
HP shares rose 0.7 percent to $20.99 in afternoon trading.
On Tuesday, two key proxy advisory firms, Institutional
Shareholder Services (ISS) and Glass Lewis, also recommended
voting against those two directors at HP's shareholder meeting
on March 20.
ISS, closely followed by investors seeking guidance on
controversial issues, issued a rare call as well to vote against
board chairman Ray Lane, a managing partner at high-powered
Silicon Valley venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins.
Glass Lewis also suggested shareholders vote to remove two
other directors -- venture capitalist Marc Andreessen and Rajiv
Both firms blamed the directors for inadequate due diligence
relating to the acquisition of Autonomy.
HP, which acquired the British firm for $11.1 billion, took
a massive writedown on its value last year.