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Jesse Jackson Likes HP's New Post-Split Boards

Activist Jesse Jackson calls the two boards "the most diverse of any tech company in America."

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With only two months and change to go before it splits in two, computing giant Hewlett-Packard just named the members of the boards of the companies it will become.

The boards of Hewlett-Packard Enterprise and HP Inc. will each include four women and two blacks. This prompted the Rev. Jesse Jackson, who has been pressuring Silicon Valley companies, to praise HP in a statement, calling them “the most diverse boards of any tech company in America.”

That’s a big change from a year ago, when Jackson appeared at HP’s annual shareholder meeting and spent 10 minutes at a microphone calling on CEO Meg Whitman to “assume a different level of leadership.” The message seems to have gotten through. In March, he appeared at Apple’s shareholder meeting.

Jackson has been pushing 27 different tech companies including Apple, Facebook, Airbnb and DropBox to disclose more information about the levels of minority representation in their workforces and to boost the number of blacks, Latinos and women on their boards and in their executive suites.

The board of Hewlett-Packard Enterprise will have 12 members, five of them new.

Patricia Russo, the former CEO of Alcatel-Lucent, will be chairman. She has been on the board since 2011 and was named lead director last year. HP announced that she would be chairman some months ago. Several directors of the current company will remain on this board.

One of the new names is Michael Angelakis, the former CFO of Comcast and that company’s former vice chairman.

Another is Dan Ammann, president of General Motors. He was also a banker at Morgan Stanley who advised that company during its massive bankruptcy, bailout and restructuring in 2009.

Also joining the board is Les Brun, chairman and CEO of Sarr Group, a Philadelphia-based investment holding company. He is better known as the founder of the private equity firm Hamilton Lane and was recently named chairman of the payroll outsourcing giant ADP.

A fourth new name is Pamela Carter, former president at Cummins Distribution, a company that makes natural gas and diesel engines. She retired from that company earlier this year. She was also the first black woman to serve as a state’s attorney general when she was elected to that office for the state of Indiana.

The fifth new name is Lip-Bu Tan, chairman and CEO of Cadence Design Systems. That company specializes in electronic design automation, the specialized world of software used to design and simulate computer chips.

The rest of the HPE board will be comprised of existing directors, including:

  • Marc Andreessen, venture capitalist and co-founder of Andreessen-Horowitz
  • Klaus Kleinfeld, chairman and CEO of aluminum giant Alcoa
  • Ray Lane, the former HP chairman and former Oracle exec who is now an emeritus partner at the VC firm Kleiner, Perkins, Caufield & Byers
  • Ann Livermore, the former executive VP and head of HP’s enterprise business
  • Raymond E. Ozzie, the former Microsoft executive and currently CEO of the startup Talko
  • Gary Reiner, the former CIO of General Electric and now a partner at the private equity firm General Atlantic
  • Last but not least there’s Meg Whitman, who will be CEO of HPE after the split.

Whitman will also be chairman of the board at the new company, HP Inc., which also named its board today. It will include Dion Weisler, the current head of HP’s PC and printing business unit, who was months ago named as the new company’s CEO.

Most of the names on the HP Inc. board are new, but four are coming over from the old HP board.

The new names include Carl Bass, CEO of the design software company Autodesk, and Charles Bergh, CEO of Levi Strauss, the jeans company. One name that stands out is Stacy Brown-Philpot, the COO of TaskRabbit and a former Googler who led global operations on its search, Chrome and other products. She also founded the Black Googler Network, a big diversification initiative at that company.

Stephanie Burns is the former CEO and chairman of Dow Corning; she retired from that company in 2011.

Mary Anne Citrino is a senior managing director at the investment firm Blackstone.

Stacey Mobley is the former chief administrative officer and general counsel at the chemical company DuPont. In 1972, he was the first black lawyer at that company.

Subra Suresh is president of Carnegie Mellon University.

The rest are current HP directors:

  • Shumeet Banerji, the former CEO of the consulting firm Booz and Company
  • Robert R. Bennett, the former CEO of Liberty Media
  • Rajiv Gupta, former chairman and CEO of the chemical company Rohm and Haas.

Here’s the full statement from Jackson’s Rainbow PUSH Coalition:

“Minority inclusion in the leadership of tech companies is at the forefront of the industry’s agenda. HP is answering the call. By appointing two African-Americans on each of its two new Boards of Directors for Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) and HP Inc (HPI), they will have the most diverse boards of any tech company in America. There will also be four women on the Board of HPE, and four women on the Board of HPI.”

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