Shareholdersshow disdain for Dell chief

Steve Dinneen
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DELL founder Michael Dell survived an investor savaging during his re-election to chief executive, with more than a quarter of voters withholding their support.

Shareholders are furious at the firm’s fall from being the biggest computer manufacturer in the world to its current third place behind Hewlett-Packard (HP) and Acer.

Dell’s stock is down more than 50 per cent since August 2008 and the company recently paid $100m (£64m) to settle a government probe into some of its accounting practices.

The company has made a mix of major and small acquisitions in the past year as it tries to diversify beyond personal computers. This week it said it had agreed to pay $1.15bn to buy data storage company 3PAR.

But the strategy was not enough for 25.1 per cent of Dell shareholders, who refused to back the chief executive at the firm’s annual meeting on 12 August.

The firm is facing fierce competition from rivals including Oracle and Cisco Systems, which are expanding into new corporate technology markets, while smartphone and tablet technology from Apple and Google threatens to erode PC sales.

Meanwhile, Hewlett-Packard (HP), which dazzled Wall Street with rock-steady performances during Mark Hurd’s five-year reign, also faces investor pressure.

Its shares are down 11 per cent since Hurd announced his abrupt departure on 6 August amid a sexual harassment scandal.

It will hold its quarterly earnings conference with analysts later today. The focus will be on HP’s strategy and its ability to keep up momentum across its diverse businesses.