A less-noticed (but still nice) pay package at HP …

October 4, 2010

LâŸo Apotheker’s hire as chief executive of Hewlett-Packard (HPQ) got plenty of press over the weekend, including invective from Oracle’s ever-entertaining Larry Ellison. But while estimates of Apotheker’s pay package varied — bigger than Mark Hurd’s! roughly on par with Mark Hurd’s! (all depending on how you value the equity, of course) — another HP pay disclosure got much less attention.

That, of course, is the appointment of Raymond J. Lane, the former Oracle president and chief operating officer, as non-executive chairman of the board. And his pay, laid out in the same 8-K that included Apotheker’s, is interesting: He’s getting 45,000 restricted shares, vesting over three years. If he stays on the board through November 1 of 2011, the restrictions lift on 15,000 of those shares (some $612,900 at this morning’s opening price). But he wouldn’t get the rest (or $1.23 million) until two years later.

And that’s it, at least for now:

“No other compensation will be paid to Mr. Lane for his service on the Board during the period extending from the Effective Date until the date that directors are elected at the next annual meeting of HP stockholders. If Mr. Lane is re-elected to the Board by HP stockholders at that meeting, his compensation for service as a director and as non-executive Chairman thereafter shall be established as part of the Board’s regular annual review of director compensation.”

It’s enough to put Lane in the upper reaches of pay for non-executive directors, even assuming he gets no cash or other compensation. It seems likely he will, however, and fairly soon, too. HP’s annual meeting is generally in March, and directors generally pull in around $300,000 in cash and stock, according to the company’s January proxy, up to as much as $430,497. (Robert L. Ryan made that much last year as the board’s audit-committee chairman and member of two other committees, as well as its lead independent director.)

It remains to be seen whether pairing an ex-Oracle man with a former SAP chief proves speculation that HP plans to focus more on software, or is emphasizing a sales strategy over a technology one — or maybe it’s really all a big HP-Oracle grudge match after all. Any which way, the two men heading HP are being rewarded handsomely. Let’s see how well they perform.

Image source: AComment via Flickr

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