HP hands president and CEO Meg Whitman chair-ship of the board

HP has handed chair-ship of its board to president and CEO Meg Whitman in a move that is seen by many as a nod of appreciation to the efforts of her team to boost the firm’s fortunes.

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The company announced that Whitman has been appointed chair of the board as a replacement for the outgoing Ralph Whitworth and it has also moved Pat Russo into position as lead independent director.

“Meg has been an outstanding leader since coming to HP, and we believe that as chairman she can most effectively drive the turnaround and continue to build value for our shareholders,” said Gary Reiner, chairman of the Nominating, Governance and Social Responsibility Committee. “Throughout Pat’s three years on the board, her deep operational and technology experience and her commitment to governance best practice have proved invaluable. She was the obvious choice to step in as lead independent director.”

In addition to the internal reshuffle, Klaus Kleinfeld, chairman and CEO at metals company Alcoa, joins the board of directors and becomes a member of the Nominating, Governance and Social Responsibility Committee at HP. Whitman championed his history in triggering turnarounds during his time as CEO at Alcoa and the two decades spent at Siemens that also saw him spend a period as CEO.

“Klaus’s leadership, strategic vision and expertise in successfully leading these companies through times of change will be a positive addition to our already outstanding board. I look forward to working with him,” Whitman added.

HP also announced that Robert Bennett has been handed the position of chairman of the company’s Finance and Investment Committee and the new appointments take the number of members on the board to a total of 12.

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Whitman has been chairman and CEO of HP since September 2011 when she replaced Léo Apotheker and many have credited her with helping spark a return to profitability for the company.