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Hewlett-Packard General Counsel Michael Holston to Leave Company

Dec. 12 (Bloomberg) -- Hewlett-Packard Co.’s general counsel is leaving the company and a search for his replacement is under way, the world’s largest computer maker said today.

Holston, who joined the Palo Alto, California-based company in 2007, is departing to pursue other opportunities, Hewlett-Packard said in a statement. David Healy, a partner at Fenwick & West LLP, will act as interim general counsel while the computer maker searches for a new top lawyer.

Meg Whitman, who succeeded Leo Apotheker as Hewlett-Packard’s chief executive officer on Sept. 22, is taking steps to stabilize the company after a series of moves by her predecessor that pushed down the stock price almost by half. Michael Thacker, a company spokesman, said that he wasn’t aware of any position Holston would next take, and that Holston and Whitman have a “mutual respect.”

On Oct. 27, Whitman decided to keep Hewlett-Packard’s PC division in-house after her predecessor said he would explore a spinoff. On Dec. 9, she said she would release the company’s WebOS operating system to an open-source project.

Holston leaves as Hewlett-Packard is engaged in litigation with rival Oracle Corp. over the software company’s plan to stop developing products for Intel Corp.’s Itanium chip, which Hewlett-Packard uses in some servers. A trial may take place next year.

On his watch, the company also fielded shareholder lawsuits related to the severance package for former CEO Mark Hurd, who resigned in August 2010 after the company found he had violated its business conduct standards.

Holston joined Hewlett-Packard from the law firm Morgan Lewis & Bockius LLP in February 2007. Before that, he was a criminal prosecutor in the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Philadelphia, according to the press release announcing his hiring.

Hewlett-Packard declined 1.6 percent to $27.34 today at the New York close.

To contact the reporters on this story: Aaron Ricadela in San Francisco at aricadela@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Tom Giles at tgiles5@bloomberg.net

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