Ray Lane: HP is a part-time job

Sep 23, 2011

Dan Primack was a senior editor at Fortune from 2010 to 2016. He was also the author of Term Sheet, Fortune's daily newsletter about deals and dealmakers.

Ray Lane may now be executive chairman of Hewlett-Packard (hpq), but it will not be a fulltime job.

During an interview this morning with CNBC, Lane said that he would maintain his "day job" as a managing partner of Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers. He added that his passion remains venture capital, but that he would be available to new HP CEO Meg Whitman whenever she needed help or advice.

"My first love is helping start-ups," Lane said. "But I cannot give Meg the time she needs and still be independent and therefore be non-executive chair. So it is a technical definition."

Lane reportedly was offered the CEO job last year before (now deposed) Leo Apotheker, but turned it down. He did, however, agree to join the board as chairman if Apotheker was hired as CEO. When asked today by CNBC about board dysfunction under his leadership, Lane basically deflected the question by by blaming reporters for asking about older issues (e.g., pretexting) and saying that the board responsible for hiring Apotheker is not the exact same board that fired him. Moreover, Lane did not back down from the company's recent strategic move away from consumer products.

As a venture capitalist, Lane currently focuses most of his efforts on capital-intensive cleantech companies. His investments include Ausra (solar), GreatPoint Energy (coal-to-gas), Fisker Automotive (hybrid autos) and Th!nk (electric cars). Prior to joining Kleiner Perkins, he was president and chief operating officer of Oracle (orcl).

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