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惠普换帅风波:惠特曼并非最佳人选

Eleanor Bloxham 2011年09月23日

今天凌晨,惠普正式任命梅格•惠特曼为总裁兼CEO。李艾科辞去总裁兼CEO职务,并退出董事会。任命立即生效。事态的发展完全证实了《财富》杂志昨天的预测。但业内人士指出,一旦惠特曼成功上位,她将给惠普带来一系列风险,惠普股东们必须警惕。

    近来,惠普(Hewlett-Packard)遭遇了一连串的丑闻事件。现在,又有传言称董事会新成员梅格•惠特曼将取代李艾科,成为惠普新一任CEO。这家科技巨头的这步棋走对了吗?

    惠普股东们在做出决定之前需要考虑清楚以下几点。

    首先,梅格•惠特曼得以出任惠普董事会成员,是惠普董事长雷•兰恩一手促成的,甚至没有经过董事会的提名程序。这种做法曾引起股东代理咨询公司ISS和其他相关机构的忧虑。

    其次,梅格•惠特曼在2011年惠普年会上被选为董事会成员。此后还不到一周,她就宣布即将加盟雷•兰恩的顶级风投公司凯鹏华盈(Kleiner Perkins)。惠特曼宣布加盟凯鹏华盈的时间距离入选惠普董事会仅仅只有一周,这一事实应该引起惠普股东们的警惕。当然,还有一种可能,这种时间上的刻意安排,目的是让股东们措手不及,无法获得有价值的信息,对惠特曼在董事会中的独立性进行准确评估——尤其是她与雷•兰恩的关系。

    再次,梅格•惠特曼之前在尊重董事会独立董事和避免利益冲突方面的口碑不佳。2002年,她退出高盛(Goldman Sachs)董事会,原因是有传言称,她在eBay和高盛投行的合作中获得了高盛给予的上市前股份,从中净赚了180万美元。

    如果惠特曼出任CEO一事的幕后导演又是雷•兰恩,处境艰难的惠普需要开始着手解决一些重大的问题。现在是否是再次拿企业管理名誉冒险的最佳时机?惠普股东们应该马上着手研究这个问题。

    本文作者埃莉诺•布洛斯罕,现任价值联盟与公司治理联盟(The Value Alliance and Corporate Governance Alliance)CEO。价值联盟与公司治理联盟(http://thevaluealliance.com)是一家董事会顾问机构。

    译者:李淑玉

    HP has endured scandal after scandal. Now, it is being suggested that Leo Apotheker may be out and new board member Meg Whitman may become CEO. Would that be the right move for the tech giant right now?

    There are several issues that shareholders need to consider in such a move.

    First, Meg Whitman's nomination to HP's board was made at the behest of Ray Lane, the chair of HP's (HPQ) board, circumventing the board's nominations processes, which raised concerns with ISS, a proxy advisory firm, and others.

    Then, less than a week after HP's 2011 annual meeting, when Whitman was elected to the board, it was announced that Whitman would be joining Kleiner Perkins, Lane's firm. The fact that this announcement came just a week after Whitman's election to HP's board should raise a red flag to shareholders. Certainly, the timing of the announcement raises the possibility that there was a move to postpone information shareholders might have found valuable in weighing Whitman's independence from other members of the board and, in particular, Ray Lane.

    Third, Whitman does not necessarily have the best reputation for respecting the independent role of a board and avoiding conflicts of interest in the past. She stepped down from the Goldman Sachs board in 2002 amid allegations that she was allocated pre-IPO shares by Goldman Sachs (GS), which netted her $1.8 million in profits, as a result of eBay (EBAY) doing business with the investment bank.

    If Whitman's potential appointment is the result of Ray Lane again acting as puppeteer at HP, the beleaguered tech company has some major issues to address. Is this the right time for HP to play yet again with its governance reputation? These are issues shareholders should start evaluating now.

    Eleanor Bloxham is CEO of The Value Alliance and Corporate Governance Alliance (http://thevaluealliance.com), a board advisory firm.

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