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Hewlett-Packard CEO Whitman takes over after interim chairman resigns for health reasons

PALO ALTO, Calif. - Hewlett-Packard CEO Meg Whitman is assuming the title of chairman after the departure of interim chairman, Ralph Whitworth, who resigned to deal with health issues.

HP has split the roles of chairman and CEO since Mark Hurd resigned as CEO in 2010. The company has faced shareholder displeasure over a series of missteps and slumping sales. Whitworth, an activist shareholder, was named to the company's board to placate investors.

Whitworth announced his resignation on Tuesday.

Whitman has been CEO since 2011. She took over from Leo Apotheker, who was CEO for less than a year before being forced out.

Pat Russo, the former CEO of Alcatel-Lucent, will be HP's lead independent director, the company said. She is already a board member.

In addition, HP said Alcoa CEO Klaus Kleinfeld is joining the board.

HP shares fell 12 cents, or 0.3 per cent, to $34.31 in extended trading, after the appointments were announced. The shares are close to their highest levels in three years, as the company appears to be finding some stability.

HP has been working on a turnaround of its business amid slumping PC sales in recent years, cutting expenses and focusing on more profitable areas such as software and services. Like other PC makers, the company had trouble keeping up with the likes of Apple and Samsung. Whitman has warned that the turnaround will be a long-term endeavour. The company's most recent earnings report, in February, topped Wall Street's expectations.

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