The cost of keeping the HP board counted

If you ever wondered how much its stupid board decisions are costing HP you only have to look at the price tag of getting rid of the last three CEOs.

Internet Evolution  has added up the numbers and divided by its shoe size and worked out that it has cost HP over $80 million in the last six years to make three CEOs go away.

In 2005 there was the winsome Carly Fiorina, who was forced to leave because the board did not like the way that Wall Street was hating the Compaq merger. Well, that was the excuse anyway – actually the Compaq deal turned out very well for HP.

Fiorina walked out the door with $21.4 million in cash but there were some other deal sweeteners. There were options, restricted stock, and her pension meaning that Carly collected another $21 million. Not bad for six years.

Even more silly, although slightly less costly was the sacking of Mark Hurd, who, despite doing well in Wall Street’s eyes, fell foul of the Board because he took a former soft porn star to lunch on expenses and did not want to tell them about it.

Hurd waived rights to roughly 350,000 performance-based stock units but still collected $12.2 million for four years.

SAP action man Leo Apotheker has been in the job for 11 months, during which he has done pretty much sod all. All his cunning plans, such as converting HP into SAP, have been put on hold or scrapped. Word on the street is that he will walk away with a reported $25.2 million in severance pay which means he did better out of HP than either Carly or Mark.

Based on that package we are prepared to offer our services to HP for a week, where we absolutely promise to do nothing at all and can expect to collect $500,000. If they want, we can fire 1,000 or so staff, or pretend that we are going to buy ARM.

While CEOs are expensive, we would argue that keeping the current board in place is costing the outfit much more.