Dunn Resigns; HP CEO Hurd Apologizes for Investigation

By Jeffrey Burt  |  Posted 09-22-2006
Investigators hired by Hewlett-Packard not only obtained telephone records through legally questionable means, but also went as far as to follow reporters and members of the board of directors, including one director traveling to Colorado, according to the company.

The disclosure came Sept. 22 during a press conference by President and CEO Mark Hurd, the first time an HP executive has commented directly on the controversy that has engulfed the Palo Alto, Calif., company for the past three weeks.

In addition, Hurd announced that Patricia Dunn, who was chairwoman of the board, has resigned immediately from the board, the third member to resign in the wake of the probe.

The announcement came less than two weeks after the company first announced that Dunn would step down as chairwoman in January, but remain on the board. Hurd was appointed chairman to replace Dunn.

Hurd also said Richard Hackborn is now the lead director and HP has hired attorney Bart Schwartz, a former federal prosecutor, as board counsel to conduct an independent review of the group's business procedures to ensure that this situation doesn't arise again.

Hurd, who at times sounded distraught, several times said that what started as a legitimate attempt to find out who was leaking information to the media changed into an investigation that used techniques contrary to HP's corporate ethics. He apologized to those who were investigated or otherwise impacted.

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