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Leadership Challenges at Hewlett-Packard: Through the Looking Glass

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Document pages: 10 pages

Abstract: The board of directors has a long list of responsibilities in all areas of governance. However, to many, the fundamental obligations of the board are simple and distill down to two: 1) evaluate and approve the corporate strategy and 2) hire and fire the CEO. The Hewlett-Packard Company has had four leadership changes over the last twelve years. It has also faced numerous strategic changes, as well as controversies and challenges at the senior management and board levels. We examine these issues and ask: Does the board of directors understand the skills and experiences needed to run the company? Have they settled on a corporate strategy? Why has the board repeatedly appointed an external, rather than internal, executive as CEO? Topics, Issues and Controversies in Corporate Governance and Leadership: The Closer Look series is a collection of short case studies through which we explore topics, issues, and controversies in corporate governance. In each study, we take a targeted look at a specific issue that is relevant to the current debate on governance and explain why it is so important. Larcker and Tayan are co-authors of the book Corporate Governance Matters, and A Real Look at Real World Corporate Governance.

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