Thursday, September 22, 2011

HP's Interesting Move

Will HP’s move to hire Meg Whitman cause corporate CEO’s to decide not to keep strong exec’s on their boards? While I haven’t been following the last few months of HP particularly closely, I was surprised to see the way that they handled the firing of Leo Apotheker. What I find interesting now is the question of whether, if you’re a corporate CEO, would you want a strong unemployed or retired executive on your Board? Now I know that any strong CEO shouldn’t be intimidated by having strong exec’s in the boardroom, but I wonder now if many will find that tempts fate a bit too much and decide to take the safe route and have pals on their Board. After all, if you’re a young head football coach, you don’t generally have as offensive or defensive coordinators seasoned coaches who could step in and take your place the minute the owner becomes displeased. In the same manner, unless you’re a Jeff Immelt or Bob Lutz, with the notion of HP in your mind, you might want to not have your successor sitting there tempting the rest of the Board to make a move. And having a weak board is a move that will almost always hurt the company and its stockholders.

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