HP snags Web pioneer Andreessen for board

SAN FRANCISCO/BOSTON (Reuters) - Hewlett-Packard Co named Internet pioneer Marc Andreessen, 38, to its board of directors, tapping one of the industry’s best known investors to help guide the world’s biggest PC maker.

Marc Andreessen, Co-founder and General Partner, Andreessen Horowitz, speaks during the "The Future of Technology" panel at the Fortune Tech Brainstorm 2009 in Pasadena, California July 22, 2009 file photo. REUTERS/Phil McCarten

Chief Executive Mark Hurd is likely to look to Andreessen, one of the developers of the first widely used Web browser, to help expand the company’s presence on the Internet and its software business, a small but highly profitable segment of the computing giant’s overall portfolio.

HP bought Opsware Inc, a software company founded by Andreessen, for about $1.6 billion in 2007.

Andreessen also co-founded Netscape Communications Corp, the company that developed one of the world’s first commercial Internet browsers, based on technology he co-developed.

Netscape’s 2005 initial public offering helped launch the Internet bubble of the 1990s, when the company’s browser dominated the market. But it quickly lost share after a high- profile battle with Microsoft Corp and was sold to AOL, which then phased out the product.

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Andreessen’s appointment on Thursday will boost the number of HP directors to 11. The board also includes former Wachovia Corp Chairman and CEO G. Kennedy Thompson and McKesson Corp Chairman and CEO John Hammergren.

Andreessen will receive an annual cash retainer of $100,000 or HP securities and an annual equity retainer of $150,000.

He also serves on the boards of eBay Inc and Facebook.

Andreessen is a co-founder and general partner of venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz and a co-founder and chairman of privately held social networking Web site Ning.

HP shares were little changed after-hours on the New York Stock Exchange.

Reporting by Clare Baldwin and Jim Finkle; editing by Andre Grenon