HP/COMPAQ: HP drops Hewlett from board nominees

In continuing fallout from the hotly contested merger between Hewlett-Packard Co. (HP) and Compaq Computer Corp., HP's board of directors said Monday that it did not include Walter Hewlett in its list of candidates to be re-nominated to the board.

The board cited Hewlett's adversarial relationship with the company and the lawsuit he recently slapped HP with as reasons for excluding him from the list of candidates. Earlier this month, HP shareholders voted to approve the company's merger with Compaq, much to the dismay of the son of the company's founder, who filed suit against the company, claiming that it improperly coerced shareholders to garner approval for the deal.

The HP board, nominating committee and independent directors originally voted to place Hewlett on the nomination list following a March 27 meeting in which Hewlett spoke to the group, according to HP Nominating Board Chairman Sam Ginn.

"My fellow board members and I were therefore shocked when just hours later Walter Hewlett filed a spurious lawsuit against the company, continuing his assault on the integrity of the HP board and management team," Ginn said in a statement.

That's when the group decided to rescind Hewlett's candidacy.

The Palo Alto, California, company shareholders will vote on the new board at its annual meeting April 26. If the Compaq merger closes prior to the meeting, HP shareholders will vote on a list of nominees consisting of current HP and Compaq board members, including Ginn and HP Chief Executive Officer Carly Fiorina. If the merger has not closed prior to the meeting, shareholders will only be voting on the HP board nominees, the company said.

The HP-Compaq merger will not be final until the shareholder votes are independently verified, a process that is expected to take several weeks.

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