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Tuesday, 14 January 2014 10:00

Turmoil on Tech Boards: Tech Giants with the Highest Director Turnovers

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Boards with high turnover are as a result either of disappointing results, shareholder pressure, or outstanding results and strategic re-positioning.

New Chairmen were appointed in nine companies. Accenture and Fortinet combined the roles and Symantec and e*Trade split the roles. Former execs and founders were appointed at Infosys, Fortinet, and Advent.

In addition to the Chair turnover, HP had two directors step down, on the advice of ISS, because of their role in the controversial Autonomy software acquisition; Yahoo’s extensive changes were associated with the departure of shareholder activists and their appointees;  salesforce revitalized its board, after two long serving execs retired; e*trade saw a number of changes, after four years of un-profitable results; similarly Compuware appointed a new Chair and board members after an announcement of missing earnings targets.

ISS Pressures HP to Change Chairmen & Forces Resignations for Two Directors

A major proxy-advisory firm, ISS, urged shareholders to oppose the re-election of Chairman Ray Lane and two other directors, citing a failure of supervision around the company's $11 billion acquisition of U.K. software company Autonomy.

Hewlett-Packard’s Chairman Ray Lane, 66, is stepping down from his role as Chairman. He has served as Managing Partner of Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, a private equity firm, and also has served as President and COO and a director of Oracle, and as a senior partner at Booz Allen Hamilton. Lane and Rajiv L. Gupta, 68, the outgoing lead independent director remains on board.

Ralph V. Whitworth, 58, was named interim Chairman.  He has also served as Chairman of Apria Healthcare Group and of Waste Management. He has served on the board of other public companies: including Mattel, Sirius Satellite Radio, Tektronix, Sprint Nextel, Wilshire Technologies, United Therma, Sovereign Bancorp, and Genzyme.

Joining the HP Board:
•    Robert R. “Dob” Bennett, 55, former president and CEO of Liberty Media Corporation;
•    Raymond E. Ozzie, 57, former chief software architect of Microsoft;
•    James A. Skinner, 67, former vice chairman and CEO of McDonald’s and current chairman of Walgreen, as new board members.

Leaving the HP Board:
•    John H. Hammergren, 53, on HP’s board since 2005.  He has served as Chairman of McKesson, as well as its President & CEO;
•    G. Kennedy Thompson, 62, on HP’s board since 2006. Thompson has been a principal of Aquiline Capital Partners, a private equity firm, and has served as Chairman of Wachovia as well as its CEO.

Yahoo! Removes Three Activist Shareholder Board Members

Maynard Webb Jr, 58, was appointed Chairman. Webb served as CEO of LiveOps, a provider of cloud contact center services, president of technology, and then COO, of eBay, as well as the CIO of Gateway.

CEO Marissa Mayer has kept busy removing three shareholder activist board members, Third Point Investment: CEO Dan Loeb, 51, CEO and two of his appointees. Third Point investment fund who led the push to recruit Ms. Mayer, are not parting on good terms, leading Yahoo to buy back 40 million shares. Departing the Yahoo! Board are Third Point appointees:
•    Harry Wilson, 41, CEO of MAEVA Group, is a former Treasury Department official and President Obama's Auto Industry Task Force and hedge fund executive;
•    Michael Wolf, 51, Managing Partner of ACTIVATE, a technology and strategy firm and former President and COO of MTV Networks.

We look forward to seeing how the Yahoo! Board shapes up in 2014.

Salesforce Appoints Strategic Board named three board members:
•    John V. Roos, former U.S. Ambassador to Japan, also served as CEO of corporate and securities law firm, Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati;
•    Robin Washington, 50, CFO of Gilead Sciences;
•    Keith Block, 52, President and Vice Chairman, salesforce and formerly Oracle’s EVP, North America. Benioff, founder and CEO of salesforce, calls Block “one of the best…. executives the enterprise software industry has ever seen”.

Stepping off the board:
•    Stratton Sclavos, 51, former president and CEO of VeriSign;
•    Shirley Young, 77, former corporate VP of General Motors.

E*TRADE Appoints Chairman & Changes Guard After Pressure from Hedge Fund
Rodger A. Lawson, 66, was appointed as Chairman to replace Frank J. Petrilli, 61. Mr. Lawson most recently served as President of Fidelity Investments.

Interim CEO and Chairman Frank J. Petrilli is leaving E*Trade as the broker continues to recover from four unprofitable years through 2010, partly because of the subprime mortgage market collapse in the U.S. The New York-based company has been under pressure from its biggest shareholder, Citadel LLC, after “catastrophic losses” during the financial crisis. CEO Steven J. Freiberg was ousted in August and replaced by former Barclays Plc executive Paul Idzik in January as the company’s fifth top executive in five years.

In addition, new board members were appointed:
•    Richard J. Carbone, 64, EVP and CFO at Prudential Financial. And former senior financial executive at Salomon Brothers and Banker’s Trust;
•    Mohsen Fahmi, Senior Portfolio Manager and former COO at Moore Capital Management. He also served as Tokai Bank Europe, Salomon Brothers Asset Management, Goldman Sachs, and J.P. Morgan;
•    Christopher M. Flink, 42, Partner with IDEO, a global design and innovation firm. Flink is also a Consulting Associate Professor at Stanford University.

Ubiquiti Networks Appoints Board Members After Stock Price Dip
Wireless networking products company Ubiquiti Networks has named several new board members.
•    Steven R. Altman, 51, Vice Chairman of Qualcomm, and former President, Technology Licensing Division President, EVP, VP and General Counsel.
•    Rafael Torres, 45, CFO of OCZ Technology Group, which designs and manufactures industry-leading solid state drives, and formerly CFO at Capella Photonics, Power Integrations and PLX Technology.
•    Craig Foster, 42, Ubiquiti CFO and formerly executive at Credit Suisse investment banking group, UBS investment bank, and held various positions at RBC Capital Markets, Loudcloud, Open Market, Deloitte and PwC.

Directors Charles J. Fitzgerald (Managing Director at Summit Partners L.P.), John L. Ocampo (President at Gaas Labs), Robert M. Van Buskirk (CEO at Wilson Electronics), and Peter Y. Chung (Managing Director at Summit Partners, L.P.) have departed the company's Board of Directors.
Compuware Misses Earnings Targets Swaps Chairs and Revamps Board
Gurminder S. Bedi, 66, has assumed the position of Chairman of the Board. Bedi has served as one of Compuware's directors since 2002. He is a private investor and formerly served as a VP of Ford Motor Company during a 30-year career there. Bedi also serves on the board of KEMET and Actuant.

The board changes follow an announcement Compuware made that it expects to miss its earnings targets, also announcing that it would ramp up its cost cutting. Previously, it said it would cut $20 million a year over the next three years. Now it plans to cut $80 million to $100 million in two years, triggering speculation that more layoffs could be in store.

In addition to appointing a new Chairman, the Company plans to announce its full Board slate, including additional new independent directors, in advance of its annual shareholder meeting in March 2014.
•    David Fubini, a senior director of McKinsey
•    Lee Roberts, 60,  former CEO, FileNet
•    Jeffrey J. Clarke, 51, Managing Partner at Augusta Columbia Capital, and former CEO, Travelport, COO, CA Technologies, and Chairman, Orbitz, Worldwide.
•    Jennifer J. Raab, President of Hunter College, and served as Chairman and Commissioner of the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission. Raab has significant legal expertise, serving as a litigator at two of the nation's most prestigious law firms.

Stepping off the board:
•    W. James Prowse, 70, is retiring from the Board after many years of service to focus on his role as CFO of Covisint and that company's pending IPO;
•    Glenda D. Price, Ph.D, 73, President Emeritus of Marygrove College, a visionary academic leader and administrator, joined the Board in 2002;
•    Ralph J. Szygenda, 64, a technology industry veteran and former CIO at several large companies, including GM, joined the Board in 2009.
Data Security Solutions Company Imperva Adds Experienced CEO and GM
Charles Giancarlo, 55, managing director of Silver Lake, and also chairman of the board of Avaya, joined the Imperva board of directors. Giancarlo spent fourteen years at Cisco, most recently EVP and chief development officer and president of Cisco-Linksys.

Asheem Chandna, 48, is leaving the Imperva board. Chandna is a Partner at Greylock Partners, and was an executive at Check Point Software and CoroNet Systems, SynOptics/Bay Networks and AT&T Bell Laboratories.

Michael Boodaei, 40, also steps down to focus more time to as the CEO of Trusteer, a provider of secure web access services. Prior to this, Boodaei founded and was CEO of Edvice. He served for six years as a security research engineer in the Israel Defense forces.

For more information, please refer to our newsletter, where we examine in some detail the following:
Patterns in 2013 Board Placements
New Chairman Appointments
We also look at specific sectors, such as Digital Media, Software, Telecom Services, IT Services and Telecom Products.

Vell Executive Search is a retained executive search firm that specializes in recruiting board directors, CEOs and C-Level executives in the software industry. Vell has built a reputation for recruiting talented high-performing leadership teams globally. You can reach us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and our website is

Read 5659 times Last modified on Tuesday, 08 September 2020 12:02
Dora Vell

Dora Vell is the Managing Partner of Vell Executive Search, a boutique executive search firm in Boston focused on recruiting technology executives and board members. Vell has successfully completed numerous board member and C-level executive searches, including CEOs, COOs, CIOs, and Vice Presidents - at both public and private companies.

Prior to founding the firm in 2005, Vell was a Partner at Heidrick & Struggles' Technology practice for seven years.  Before her career in executive search, she worked at IBM for 11 years, managing software engineering organizations of 100 people and software sales organizations with revenues of $150 million. She has also served as an executive assistant to the CEO of IBM Canada for one year.

Vell holds seven worldwide software patents. She has published several Business of Leadership reports on governance and leadership and has been quoted in numerous articles including The Wall Street Journal, Forbes, Business Week, Fortune, Agenda Week, MSNBC, Mass High Tech, the OPUS for the World Economic Forum, Boston Business Journal, The Globe & Mail, CIO Magazine, and IEEE. She also has been a featured speaker on leadership at numerous conferences and at Columbia University's MBA program.

Vell is a member of the National Association of Corporate Directors (NACD), the Boston CEO Roundtable. She has served on the boards of Framingham State, Entrepreneur's Organization, Goodwill, Mary Centre for developmentally handicapped adults,, and RBC Capital Partners.

She has received an MBA from the University of Toronto, a Master in Computer Science from the University of Waterloo, and a Bachelor in Computer Science from Carleton. She has also completed the MIT Entrepreneurial Master’s program.

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