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HP’s Patricia Dunn Should Go

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The HP board spying scandal drama is getting more and more murky. HP's chairperson, Patricia Dunn now says the use of pretexting (a scenario in which one person masquerades as another in order to obtain private information) for board members and reporters has been a "major embarrassment."  Clearly the cognoscenti look disturbed at the developments thus far.

"Patricia Dunn should go", writes David Kirkpatrick. HP's chairperson reportedly spied on the company’s directors by having their telephone conversations tapped. If these allegations are true, it is very clearly unethical and perhaps illegal as well. The Wall Street Journal quotes people in the know as saying there were criminal acts involved in the methods used to search the collected records. After all, HP is a legendary company and the founders of the company were well known for their neat and clean approach toward conducting business. Too often, the board fails to stand up and lead by example; this should not be tolerated any longer. The board and its conduct are always answerable to shareholders and the law. It's also definitely a good practice to have the CEO and Chairman of the Board positions kept separate.

It is high time HP stands up and, in the process, sends a firm, loud and clear message that it is, once and for all, putting behind the shame and agony of the ugly happenings centered around its board members. For a technology company, being able to respect  privacy rights and behaving in an ethical manner, given that it operates around the world, is an absolute must. There is no room for ambiguity in this case. Ms. Dunn need not wait for the board to declare loss of confidence in her. She should be fired immediately.

Too often the board fails to stand up and lead by example. This should not be tolerated any further. It is high time that the HP board shows that it can act decisiviely to put this controversy behind it and take a strong stand against any sort of unethical acquisition of personal information. One essential way to send that message is to get rid of Ms. Dunn. Otherwise this will remain a mess that impacts the good reputation of HP.

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  • Bliffle, I agree, it’s surprising that you’ll see this level of disregard for corporate governance and ethics post-Enron. Patricia Dunn’s now loosing her job over the matter.

  • Bliffle

    It’s been evident for a few years that the HP board was taken over by scoundrels and weaklings. If nothing else, the ascendancy of Fiorina and the subsequent purchase of Compaq should have warned any alert observer.

    As it happens I went past the Deer Creek labs an hour ago and it looks like a mauseleum: not a soul in sight. Contrasted with a few years ago when there was a happy crowd there on a sunday afternoon. The opportunists and pirates have ruined a great company. Sadly, this fate awaits many more US companies as they are looted by men and women unfit to lead.