Lane, a former Oracle Corp. executive turned venture capitalist, also has been blamed for the botched acquisitions. He also was closely aligned with former HP CEO Leo Apotheker, who was fired in more than 17 months ago. The Palo Alto, Calif. company is now being run by Meg Whitman, who is hoping to engineer a turnaround within the next two to three years.
"After reflecting on the stockholder vote last month, I've decided to step down as executive chairman to reduce any distraction from HP's ongoing turnaround," Lane, 66, said in a statement.
Beyond its troubled acquisitions, most of HP's other woes stem from a decline in PC sales as more technology spending shifts to smartphones and tablet computers. The upheaval has caused HP's revenue to fall from the previous year in six consecutive quarters. To offset the drop-off in PC sales, Whitman has cut about 15,300 jobs in the past year and is still planning to eliminate about 14,000 more positions.
HP's woes have cut the company's market value in half in less than three years, wiping out $45 billion in shareholder wealth. The damage would be even worse, if HP's stock had not rebounded during the past two months on hopes that Whitman has the company headed in the right direction. The stock rose 39 cents to close at $22.30 Thursday before the board changes were disclosed.
In an open letter Thursday, Whitworth, told HP shareholders, "there is palpable energy and excitement at every level of the company to get our business turned around." He pledged to find a "world-class" chairman to replace him.