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CalPERS Withholds Votes for 6 HP Directors

March 10, 2004|From Bloomberg News

The California Public Employees' Retirement System, the largest U.S. public pension fund, is withholding votes for six Hewlett-Packard Co. directors because they let auditor Ernst & Young collect non-auditing fees.

"We believe any corporate auditor should not be doing any consulting or related tax work," CalPERS spokesman Brad Pacheco said.

The fund's 17.9 million shares are being withheld from Lawrence Babbio Jr., Patricia Dunn, Richard Hackborn, George Keyworth II, Robert Knowling Jr. and Sanford Litvack, according to a CalPERS statement.

Hewlett-Packard, which has 3.05 billion shares outstanding, plans to hold its annual meeting March 17 in Houston.

Ernst & Young collected $45.3 million in fees from Palo Alto-based Hewlett-Packard in fiscal 2003, including $21.3 million for audit fees, $3 million for "audit-related fees" and $20.6 million for tax fees, a regulatory filing shows.

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