Tech Watch: Key Board Changes at Google and Hewlett-Packard

HP's chairman steps down, while Google adds a high-profile new board member.

Jul 16, 2014 at 10:15AM

U.S stocks are higher on Wednesday morning on, among other things, reports that 21st Century Fox made an $85 per-share offer for Time Warner. Animal spirits are definitely back, at least in executive suites and corporate boardrooms. The benchmark S&P 500 and the narrower Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES:^DJI) are up 0.35% and 0.3%, respectively, at 10:20 a.m. EDT. And speaking of boardrooms, there is news this morning concerning significant board changes at two closely followed technology companies: Hewlett-Packard (NYSE:HPQ) and Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) (NASDAQ:GOOGL).


At Hewlett-Packard, activist investor Ralph Whitworth has resigned from the board in order to address a health issue (he is also taking leave from Relational Investors, the investment firm he co-founded in 1996). Mr. Whitworth joined Hewlett-Packard's board in 2011, when Relational took a 1.5% stake in the company, before stepping into the chairman's role on an interim basis in April 2013, in a shake-up that saw two long-tenured board members leave.

Mr. Whitworth has been a source of stability at HP, which had gone through four chairmen in under a decade before him. In HP's statement, CEO Meg Whitman called him "a friend and close advisor to me, the HP leadership team and every member of the boar," and a "wonderful contributor to our efforts to turn HP around." If that's the case, then how big is the impact of his departure? That will depend on the choice of his replacement, a matter the directors will discuss at its next meeting. I'd suggest they strongly consider bringing in one of Mr. Whitworth's colleagues at Relational -- at least as a director, if not necessarily as chairman. The activist firm has a much stronger incentive to keep HP's turnaround on track than most other candidates out there.

Either way, investors do not appear overly concerned regarding the matter this morning; they're taking their cues from Intel's strong quarterly results. HP's shares are up 2.4%.

Meanwhile, visionary technology firm Google is adding a bit of old-fashioned industrial know-how to its board with the addition of former Ford CEO Alan Mulally, who left the carmaker at the beginning of this month. This isn't Mr. Mulally's first brush with the technology industry: He was at one time thought to be the leading candidate to replace Steve Ballmer at the head of Microsoft. According to The Wall Street Journal, Mr. Mulally told an acquaintance in 2012 that Microsoft and Google were the only companies he would be interested in leading once he left Ford.

Besides his top-flight managerial experience -- Mr. Mulally is highly regarded for the turnaround he executed at Ford -- he can contribute industry expertise to multiple projects at Google. For one, Google is pioneering a driverless automobile, which raises all sorts of thorny regulatory and legal issues. Google is also dipping into the aerospace industry with its purchase of Titan Aerospace, a maker of solar-powered drones. Prior to joining Ford, Mr. Mulally was the CEO of Boeing Commercial Airplanes, a unit of Boeing. All told, Mr. Mulally is a first-rate addition to Google's board; shareholders ought to be delighted.

Leaked: Apple's next smart device (warning, it may shock you)
Apple recently recruited a secret-development "dream team" to guarantee its newest smart device was kept hidden from the public for as long as possible. But the secret is out, and some early viewers are claiming its everyday impact could trump the iPod, iPhone, and the iPad. In fact, ABI Research predicts 485 million of this type of device will be sold per year. But one small company makes Apple's gadget possible. And its stock price has nearly unlimited room to run for early in-the-know investors. To be one of them, and see Apple's newest smart gizmo, just click here!

Alex Dumortier, CFA has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends Google (A shares) and Google (C shares). The Motley Fool owns shares of Google (A shares) and Google (C shares). Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

1 Key Step to Get Rich

Our mission at The Motley Fool is to help the world invest better. Whether that’s helping people overcome their fear of stocks all the way to offering clear and successful guidance on complicated-sounding options trades, we can help.

Feb 1, 2016 at 4:54PM

To be perfectly clear, this is not a get-rich action that my Foolish colleagues and I came up with. But we wouldn't argue with the approach.

A 2015 Business Insider article titled, "11 websites to bookmark if you want to get rich" rated The Motley Fool as the #1 place online to get smarter about investing.

"The Motley Fool aims to build a strong investment community, which it does by providing a variety of resources: the website, books, a newspaper column, a radio [show], and [newsletters]," wrote (the clearly insightful and talented) money reporter Kathleen Elkins. "This site has something for every type of investor, from basic lessons for beginners to investing commentary on mutual funds, stock sectors, and value for the more advanced."

Our mission at The Motley Fool is to help the world invest better, so it's nice to receive that kind of recognition. It lets us know we're doing our job.

Whether that's helping the entirely uninitiated overcome their fear of stocks all the way to offering clear and successful guidance on complicated-sounding options trades, we want to provide our readers with a boost to the next step on their journey to financial independence.

Articles and beyond

As Business Insider wrote, there are a number of resources available from the Fool for investors of all levels and styles.

In addition to the dozens of free articles we publish every day on our website, I want to highlight two must-see spots in your tour of

For the beginning investor

Investing can seem like a Big Deal to those who have yet to buy their first stock. Many investment professionals try to infuse the conversation with jargon in order to deter individual investors from tackling it on their own (and to justify their often sky-high fees).

But the individual investor can beat the market. The real secret to investing is that it doesn't take tons of money, endless hours, or super-secret formulas that only experts possess.

That's why we created a best-selling guide that walks investors-to-be through everything they need to know to get started. And because we're so dedicated to our mission, we've made that available for free.

If you're just starting out (or want to help out someone who is), go to, drop in your email address, and you'll be able to instantly access the quick-read guide ... for free.

For the listener

Whether it's on the stationary exercise bike or during my daily commute, I spend a lot of time going nowhere. But I've found a way to make that time benefit me.

The Motley Fool offers five podcasts that I refer to as "binge-worthy financial information."

Motley Fool Money features a team of our analysts discussing the week's top business and investing stories, interviews, and an inside look at the stocks on our radar. It's also featured on several dozen radio stations across the country.

The hosts of Motley Fool Answers challenge the conventional wisdom on life's biggest financial issues to reveal what you really need to know to make smart money moves.

David Gardner, co-founder of The Motley Fool, is among the most respected and trusted sources on investing. And he's the host of Rule Breaker Investing, in which he shares his insights into today's most innovative and disruptive companies ... and how to profit from them.

Market Foolery is our daily look at stocks in the news, as well as the top business and investing stories.

And Industry Focus offers a deeper dive into a specific industry and the stories making headlines. Healthcare, technology, energy, consumer goods, and other industries take turns in the spotlight.

They're all informative, entertaining, and eminently listenable ... and I don't say that simply because the hosts all sit within a Nerf-gun shot of my desk. Rule Breaker Investing and Answers contain timeless advice, so you might want to go back to the beginning with those. The other three take their cues from the market, so you'll want to listen to the most recent first. All are available at

But wait, there's more

The book and the podcasts – both free ... both awesome – also come with an ongoing benefit. If you download the book, or if you enter your email address in the magical box at the podcasts page, you'll get ongoing market coverage sent straight to your inbox.

Investor Insights is valuable and enjoyable coverage of everything from macroeconomic events to investing strategies to our analyst's travels around the world to find the next big thing. Also free.

Get the book. Listen to a podcast. Sign up for Investor Insights. I'm not saying that any of those things will make you rich ... but Business Insider seems to think so.

Compare Brokers