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HP's Meg Whitman made $15.4 million in fiscal 2012

Hewlett Packard CEO and President Meg Whitman attends the Allen & Co Media Conference in Sun Valley, Idaho July 12, 2012. REUTERS/Jim Urquha
Hewlett Packard CEO and President Meg Whitman attends the Allen & Co Media Conference in Sun Valley, Idaho July 12, 2012. REUTERS/Jim Urquha

By P.J. Huffstutter

CHICAGO (Reuters) - Chief executive Meg Whitman received compensation worth about $15.4 million in 2012 as Hewlett-Packard Co. posted a net loss in her first full fiscal year in charge, according to a federal proxy filing.

Whitman's base salary was just $1. Her bonus was $1.7 million, while the remainder of her compensation was granted in the form of Hewlett-Packard stock options, stock awards and other income, according to the proxy filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission on Friday.

Her compensation was about 70 percent of previous targets, as the company posted a net loss.

Whitman - the former EBay executive and one-time Republican candidate for California governor - took over as HP's chief executive in the fall of 2011, at a time when the hardware manufacturer had been rocked by a decade of troubled deals, corporate espionage and allegations of sexual harassment in the executive suite.

Since taking over the reins, Whitman has tried various strategies to turn around the Silicon Valley titan, including plans to cut an estimated 29,000 jobs over the next two years and reverse a previous corporate decision to spin off HP's PC division.

But years of corporate tumult, and the company's shares dropping by nearly 39 percent in the past year, has had investors putting the company's board under intense scrutiny.

Whitman is ranked 285th on the Forbes list of the top 400 richest people in America, and 18th on the Forbes list of the World's 100 most powerful women.

CHANGES TO EXECUTIVE PAY

That drop in stock price, too, has cut some of HP's executive pay in the form of restricted stock awards from earlier years, according to the proxy filing. The payment of these awards were tied to the firm's per-share performance against the Standard & Poor's 500 Index over a period of time.

HP changed its compensation program last year, and is now giving stock options that vest if the company's stock price meets or exceeds specific goals or thresholds.

Also, according to the proxy filed Friday, HP said it will offer up a new policy proposal that will allow large shareholders to have the ability to nominate directors - rather than just voting for a panel of directors nominated by the company.

The measure will be voted on at the company's annual shareholder meeting held on March 20, at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, California.

Sales of personal computers fell for the first time in more than five years in the Christmas holiday season, as Microsoft Corp's Windows 8 operating system failed to excite buyers and many consumers instead opted for tablet devices and smartphones, according to a recent study by tech industry tracker IDC.

The slump capped a year of waning sales for Hewlett-Packard and rival PC makers such as Dell Inc with no immediate signs of relief.

(Reporting By P.J. Huffstutter and Bill Rigby; editing by Patrick Graham)

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