H-P CEO Resignation Highlights a Bigger Risk

Hewlett-Packard’s announcement last week that its CEO had resigned as a result of code of conduct violations was a clear sign that corporate boards are taking their governance role more seriously.  However, in the aftermath of the resignation, a bigger and more pervasive risk throughout many corporate C-suites has been highlighted – the lack of a clear succession plan.  Here is what the Wall Street Journal reported today.

In the wake of Chief Executive Mark Hurd‘s sudden resignation, Hewlett-Packard Co. has declared that its focus on business remains intact. But its CEO’s unexpected departure reopens questions about H-P’s strategy and succession that had largely been absent over the past few years. On Friday, confidence over Hewlett-Packard’s prospects appeared to slip following Mr. Hurd’s resignation—which stemmed from misuse of corporate expense accounts, uncovered in an investigation into allegations of sexual harassment by an actress named Jodie Fisher who was hired as an event-planning contractor for H-P. The news, released after stock markets closed Friday, shocked investors and caused H-P shares to plunge 8.3% to $42.48 in after-hours trading.

Given the limited number of qualified external CEO candidates, it is imperative for companies to build their bench strength to support their succession plan in the event of a CEO’s or other senior executive’s untimely exit.

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About Wheelhouse Advisors
Wheelhouse Advisors LLC is the publisher of The ERM Current™, an online publication and blog dedicated to providing the latest updates on current trends in Enterprise Risk Management & Control. Wheelhouse Advisors provides cost-effective Enterprise Risk Management & Control solutions to both large and mid-size corporations. To learn more about Wheelhouse Advisors, please visit our web site at www.WheelhouseAdvisors.com.

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