Hewlett-Packard Co., the largest computer maker, is addingactivist shareholder Ralph Whitworth to its board to help shore upinvestor confidence shaken by strategy shifts and slashed salesforecasts.

Whitworth, whose Relational Investors LLC held about 17.5million Hewlett-Packard shares as of Sept. 30, is joining theboard's compensation committee and its finance and investmentcommittee, Hewlett-Packard said in a statement yesterday.

Hewlett-Packard aims to assuage investors who sold stock amid agrowth slowdown in the months before Meg Whitman replaced LeoApotheker as chief executive officer. Whitworth, whose firmoversees $6.5 billion, told management his appointment wouldburnish credibility and that he'd press for share buybacks, higherdividends or more investment in research and development, a personwith knowledge of the talks said.

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