Meg Whitman is new Chairman of HP

Hewlett-Packard Company usually separates the roles of CEO and chairman but to protect the shareholders interest, it has named Meg Whitman, Chief Executive officer of the company as its chairman. The responsibilities have been assigned to Whitman as activist investor Ralph Whitworth recently stepped down from the post on health grounds.

Further, the Palo Alto-based company said in a statement on Friday that Pat Russo, current director was appointed as the lead independent director and Klaus Kleinfeld, CEO and chairman of Alcoa Inc., was brought onto the board thereby increasing the board's membership to 12.

Whitman, 57, is taking over the leadership of a board that in the past decade has seen four chief executives and acquisitions that loaded the company with debt.

She has been president and CEO of HP since September 2011 and a member of the board since January 2011. Under her leadership HP has refocused on PCs and the management has carried out job cuts in order to make it a leaner and efficient tech company. Still the company struggles with the lower growth in the PC market and also a series of unprofitable acquisitions.

"Meg has been an outstanding leader since coming to HP, and we believe that as chairman she can most effectively drive the turnaround and continue to build value for our shareholders", said Gary Reiner, chairman of the HP's nominating, governance and social responsibility committee.

After the news, the stocks closed Thursday down 1.1% at $34.43, and ticked up 0.1% in after-hours trade.