With Enron under investigation by lawyers, Lay’s continued board membership had become an embarrassment to Compaq. The firm has disclosed he formally left the board on 31st December. He had also sold part of his Compaq shareholding in October.
Lay had been on Compaq’s board since 1987, well before the dramatic rise of Enron. He was a strong proponent of Compaq’s plans to merge the company with Hewlett-Packard, which itself is running into opposition from investors and HP family members.
Lay had previously left the board of enterprise resource planning specialist I2 Technologies, also based in Texas, as well as pharmaceuticals giant Eli Lilly, but retains other directorships.
As a close friend of US President George W. Bush he was involved in his administration’s energy policy formulations and met with his number two Dick Cheney six times as recently as last Spring.
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