Investors appear largely unfazed by announced board changes at tech giants Hewlett-Packard Co. (NYSE: HPQ) and Google Inc. (NASDAQ: GOOGL). Shares of the former were up Wednesday in early afternoon trading, buoyed no doubt by the strong earnings report from Intel Corp. (NASDAQ: INTC) rather than by news of the departure of its interim chair. Google announced late Tuesday that it was bringing on board former Ford Motor Co. (NYSE: F) CEO Alan Mulally, but shares were up only marginally.
Mulally may be the turnaround specialist, but of the two companies, HP is the one struggling to return to consistent growth. HP announced Tuesday that interim chairman and activist investor Ralph Whitworth will step down for undisclosed health-related reasons. Whitworth reportedly had undergone treatment for throat cancer earlier this year.
HP’s search for a permanent chair continues, as does its work on turning itself around after the market for personal PCs tanked and following the disastrous acquisition of software-maker Autonomy.
While Mulally’s skills as a turnaround artist may not be in much demand at Google, he could be of some service on projects like Google’s driverless car, which so far has earned little respect and has few prospects for widespread adoption.
HP shares were up about 2% in afternoon trading to $34.88, in a 52-week range of $20.25 to $35.20. Google shares were fractionally higher, at $594.02 in a 52-week range of $421.91 to $615.05.