Spy: The HP Way

5:00 PM -- It's been a busy week at HP. Recent reports have revealed that executives there have spied on journalists and their own board members. They've also tried to find out a journalist's sources by concocting fake presentations and leaking them to the media under the guise of a fictitious, disgruntled senior executive.

HP's never been what I'd call a friendly place. But now it seems to be downright ruthless. Does there come a point when the media should stop giving a company the benefit of the doubt? I'm wondering:

— Phil Harvey, News Editor, Light Reading

lightreceding 12/5/2012 | 3:38:29 AM
re: Spy: The HP Way Yep, Hurd can't even lie well. I agree that the BoD should be replaced.

The point that I found most interesting in an article was when a Lawyer advised that the board could have sued its self and gained suponea rights to the information that they wanted.

The press still doesn't seem to know what pretexting. It is when you lie about why you need the information. If you also lie about who you are it is a serious matter as the HP Execs are finding out.

The felony charges might be a bit of political grandstanding, but HP Execs should have know better.
chip_mate 12/5/2012 | 3:38:35 AM
re: Spy: The HP Way HP used to be an upstanding company in the eyes of the World. A shining light on the hill.

Time to step back from the urinal and let the blinking red light complete it's mission: FLUSH.

I have read 19 stories in 7 different publications on this issue this week. The one that stuck out had a question posed to Mr. Hurd, in essence:
Did you read the report?
Answer: yes, but only briefly, I was about to give a big speech, so my mind was elsewhere, It was not my best moment.

Gotta throw the flag and call bullshit on that one.
Proper response to the person who pushed that in front of Mr. Hurd before the "big speech" is:

"Thanks, not now, get this in front of me later today, or on the flight home. Thanks!"

First of all, that's the correct response. Second of all, Mr. Hurd never said that because this report never was put in front of him before the "big speech". NO ONE in his circle of support would have done that. Only a newbie MBA who just didn't know, would hand something like a Board Of Directors Investigative Report to the CEO right before the "big speech".

This guy is so transparent it's not even funny.

HP is in uncharted territory. Headed towards places that it was NEVER supposed to enter in a 1000 years.
fredfrenzy 12/5/2012 | 3:38:37 AM
re: Spy: The HP Way ...and to compare it will drug dealing is quite a stretch.

Indeed, I was irritated to hear this compared to enron or worldcom. Sorry, but this wasn't stealing ga-zillions of $$ from stock holders and employees.

This is pre-election times and the combination of corp. governance and privacy issues make for a great circus on the hill.
whyiswhy 12/5/2012 | 3:38:44 AM
re: Spy: The HP Way Sail:

Well, it's pretty clear this is still the board battle between the old HP clique versus the new HP clique from way back at the Carly fiasco, and probably before that. The had at least one "by the numbers" CEOs before Carly.

Between Fiorina and Dunn the new HP board clique has shown they are at best unethical and at least stupid. The tipoff on membership in the unethical new HP clique is the use of the "I am so stupid that even though they told me they had accessed private phone records, I didn't realize they had gotten them illegally" -defense.

Like Hurd:

From WSJ According to other Wilson Sonsini memos, several other participants at the July 2005 meeting told the lawyers that phone records were discussed, and possibly the use of pretexting as well. H-P investigators Kevin Huska and Tony Gentilucci, who both attended the meeting with Mr. Hurd, told Wilson Sonsini that phone records were discussed, but neither could recall if pretexting was also raised.

Mr. DeLia told the lawyers that any results discussed at the meeting "would have had to include the results of the telephone research." Mr. DeLia also told the lawyers that he explained how pretexting was used at the July 2005 meeting, though he told them he wasn't sure if Mr. Hurd was in the room during the discussion of phone records.

The Wilson Sonsini memo also describes Mr. Hurd's recollection of the March 2006 meeting, which was held in Los Angeles and coincided with H-P's shareholder meeting. Mr. Hurd told the lawyers that Kevin Hunsaker -- an H-P vice president who helped lead the leak probe, and has subsequently resigned -- "explained that they had information regarding phone calls," the memo states.
= the "I'm stupid" defense.

Mr Hurd being that stupid has no business being a CEO.


PS: Thats Walter Hewlett, not William (my brain got stuck earlier). Perkins overall seems to be a standup guy. That's part of the old HP clique.

^Eagle^ 12/5/2012 | 3:38:47 AM
re: Spy: The HP Way I agree with Why. The ENTIRE BOD should be fired. There is no way they did not know what was happening and that it was illegal.

They BOD should also be denied any $$ for their months in the BOD role during the time this spying was being done. I know BOD members get large retainer checks as part of being on the board.

I also think Herd should be fired as well.

In addition I believe the clauses that are in all their employment contracts that state that they are not eligible for pensions or retirement or severance if they violate internal ethics policies or the law should be enforced.

Bring back Mr Hewlett. Bring back Mr. Perkins.

And while we are cleaning house, fire anyone with any participation in this, including and especially anyone else at the "O" level within the company.

In the meantime, I am going to buy all my new printers and printer supplies from their competition until they clean this up and FIRE the entire pack of those responsible. Not just Dunn.

Instead of justice happening, and instead of the entire truth coming out, I believe they will have a "fall person" and even that token fall person will recieve a slap on the wrist and a fine at most, and Dunn will not have to give up her severance nor retirement benefits from HP.

startup_shutup 12/5/2012 | 3:38:49 AM
re: Spy: The HP Way May be look for candidate who has uncanny ability to be unethical?

Ex-HP Chairwoman, 4 Others Face Charges
Wednesday October 4, 10:30 pm ET
By Jordan Robertson, AP Business Writer
California Attorney General Charges Ex-Hewlett-Packard Chairwoman, 4 Others in Spy Probe

SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) -- Prosecutors filed criminal charges Wednesday against Hewlett-Packard's former chairwoman and four others involved in the corporate spying scandal that has shaken the Silicon Valley tech giant long revered for its ethics and professionalism.

California Attorney General Bill Lockyer accused two ousted HP insiders -- chairwoman Patricia Dunn and chief ethics officer Kevin Hunsaker -- and three outside investigators -- Ronald DeLia, Matthew DePante of Melbourne, Fla. and Bryan Wagner of Littleton, Colo. -- of violating state privacy laws in HP's crusade to root out the source of boardroom leaks.

whyiswhy 12/5/2012 | 3:38:51 AM
re: Spy: The HP Way Dunn done, done, done...


whyiswhy 12/5/2012 | 3:38:57 AM
re: Spy: The HP Way The old HP way: respect for human dignity, faith in the idea that one can deliver good incomes and job security based on SOTA products commanding SOTA prices, then reinvesting the profits in R&D to do it again!

The new HP way: She with the most airplanes when she dies wins! Let them eat cake with a bug in it, then track them! Did the photographers catch the glint of that tear on my cheek?
paolo.franzoi 12/5/2012 | 3:39:00 AM
re: Spy: The HP Way
I have found people in the following profression "Pretext" regularly:

1 - Journalists
2 - Fianancial Analysts
3 - Private Investigators
4 - Police
5 - People at Trade Shows
6 - Guys in Bars
7 - Gals in Bars

opticalwatcher 12/5/2012 | 3:39:02 AM
re: Spy: The HP Way Yes, it was a strike force in 1998 that stopped the drug dealers in East Palo Alto. I certainly like your story about cops having nothing to do with it. Certainly in the long run more jobs will help the city more. But it is still kind of absurd to compare drug wars in East Palo Alto to pretexting.

Congress has found the following companies having practiced pretexting: Honda, Wells Fargo, Ford, and many more. So you're going to have to broaden your moral outrage to a lot more companies and CEOs.
lightreceding 12/5/2012 | 3:39:03 AM
re: Spy: The HP Way It is funny how the press is calling what HP did "pretexting". It looks more like fraud to me. Why don't they call it that? The HP people where lying about who there were.

My understanding is that "pretexting" is the name for the stories that police investigators make up to get evidence and confessions. The police are allowed to lie and when they do this they are not claiming to be someone else.
lightreceding 12/5/2012 | 3:39:03 AM
re: Spy: The HP Way I don't think that Carly should get a pass, but I don't know if people's memory goes back that far and she has a whole lot of PR working for her with the new book coming out, while the rest of them are looking really stupid.
whyiswhy 12/5/2012 | 3:39:05 AM
re: Spy: The HP Way Debate, my butt. There's no maybe about it. It's at least fraud. The phone companies that got pretexted are suing.

It can certainly be prosecuted under RICO in that at least Dunn and Hurd were aware private records were being accessed..probably corporate counsel too. Sounds like conspiracy to commit a California crime to me. Let's see what the CA AG does.

It's absolutely laughable that Dunn said she thought private telephone records were available publicly: that's the worst "stupid" excuse I've heard in a long time. That single remark set back female equality twenty years. "That's not representin', that's mis-representin'" as my teenaged daughter says.

No better than Hurds "I didn't do my job, blame me for everything" excuse. Ah, sorry, but the rest of that alibi is: fall on your sword. He forgot that part apparently. No class, if it costs cash.

Think the kids in East PA can afford that stuff unless they are dealing? Drugs were and still are fueled by the rich kids from Stanford, Palo Alto High and that junior college down the road, Menlo. It's true murder and dealing in East PA is down, it's moved to Oakland, and the kids have to pay a bridge toll to get them.

Cops? Ha! The biggest thing that shut down drugs in East PA was jobs and development. That was courtesy of WalMart and Ikea and OfficeDepot. Oh and the multi-story office buildings and four star hotel complex that replaced Whisky Gulch courtesy of Brobeck (RIP).

Hell, there isn't a law specifically outlawing snaking a camera up the sewer line is there?

Do we really need a general right to privacy ammendment to the constitution, or can we get a little justice metered out on these fools and save us a lot of time and work?

opticalwatcher 12/5/2012 | 3:39:07 AM
re: Spy: The HP Way Well, there's certainly a debate over pretexting being illegal. Congress has been considering passing a law making it illegal (which is why Congressmen have been making gratuitous comments about the HP case).

And to compare it will drug dealing is quite a stretch. Drug gangs in East Palo Alto were once responsible for giving this small town the highest homicide rate in the country. A number of years back they brought in police from everywhere and shut much of this down.

whyiswhy 12/5/2012 | 3:39:08 AM
re: Spy: The HP Way Dunn and several others got far far less than what they deserve. They deserve stainless steel and iron bars and a "big mommy" or "big daddy".

Pretexting corresponds to breaking and entering, which is a felony. It is a separate crime from actually stealing or breaking something, by the way.

But they are rich and white and corporate executives, so nothing will happen. Better bag that Black guy on the corner of University and 101 selling a bag of pot to the Stanford kid. Swat team on that. Oh, yea, let the kid go, his/her parents are rich.


Scott Raynovich 12/5/2012 | 3:39:08 AM
re: Spy: The HP Way Well, I dunno, I think the fact that Hurd helped double the stock price in two years is partially contributing to the fact that he's still standing.

As for Congress, some day they should just turn the tables around and let the witnesses interrogate them.

"Yes representative, but didn't you send porn e-mails to your former intern?"

The_Escapist 12/5/2012 | 3:39:10 AM
re: Spy: The HP Way Exactly why does Carly get a pass in all of this? Surely, she created the "new" HP culture that spawned this whole mess?
whyiswhy 12/5/2012 | 3:39:41 AM
re: Spy: The HP Way Not holding my breath. Pension funds did not keep the merger from happening, nor Hewlett on the board. They did not keep Carly or Patty under any semblance of control.

IMHO, corporate governance law desperately needs major reforms at the federal level. No more executives on boards of directors, for one. That's like putting a fox in charge of the chicken coop, and wondering why egg production keeps dropping and dropping.

lightreceding 12/5/2012 | 3:39:42 AM
re: Spy: The HP Way Latest news is that some pension funds are pushing for a vote on the board. Maybe they will hold people accountable.
whyiswhy 12/5/2012 | 3:39:44 AM
re: Spy: The HP Way Well, I don't know about looking good.

She had a wild penchant for personal comforts.

Imelda = shoes, Carly = planes.

HP traditionally had two smallish executive jets parked at SJC. Under Carly, the HP Air Force expanded so much they had to construct a large maintenance hangar, just to handle them all.

Cost cutting suggestion: sell the planes, close the hangar, fly commercial.

Hewlett can charge the company to fly his own.

lightreceding 12/5/2012 | 3:39:45 AM
re: Spy: The HP Way What is really something is that these guys are making Carly look good in comparison, just as her book is coming out.
whyiswhy 12/5/2012 | 3:39:46 AM
re: Spy: The HP Way Bring back William Hewlett as chairman, receive the entire boards resignation, including Herd.

Bring back trust in HP.

whyiswhy 12/5/2012 | 3:39:48 AM
re: Spy: The HP Way People are not asked to leave the board lightly and without rock solid proof. People like Perkins do not lightly "go public".

You cannot tell me that at the board meeting they voted out the leaker, there was not a copy of his or the reporter's phone bill presented as "rock solid proof".

You cannot tell me Dunn nor Herd nor the members of the board are so stupid as to believe that data was obtained in any legal manner, in spite of the advise of counsel. This stunt was obviously far from borderline, it was and is flat out illegal, at least in California.

The "advise of counsel" is not a "get of jail free" -card. The internal attorneys are fired, so the board figured that one out. Now they should get Sonsini's resignation and sue his butt off.

The irony is any award will probably come from HPs D&O insurance, not WSG&R's malpractice insurance.

Not the first time the S in WSG&R gets in hot water:






Couldn't happen to a nicer guy...

As always, JMHO

lightreceding 12/5/2012 | 3:39:50 AM
re: Spy: The HP Way Herd is quoted as saying during the press conference that he didn't read the email that was sent notifying him of the questionable practices in the investigation. He doesn't deny getting the email. What an idiot. He wants us to believe that didn't read such an important email. Is this some attempt to evade responsibility or is he admiting negligence in his duties?
lightreceding 12/5/2012 | 3:39:50 AM
re: Spy: The HP Way So what is with this, Dunn out but Herd takes Chairman role. I thought Herd was implicated as well. In any case the CEO should not also be the Chairman of the Board. This is the lack of independant oversight that lead to stock options scandals.
sfwriter 12/5/2012 | 3:39:58 AM
re: Spy: The HP Way Every company deserves fair treatment from journalists. Still, HP really crossed the line here. It's just another example of the erosion of freedom of the press in this country.
Larry, Monkey 12/5/2012 | 3:39:58 AM
re: Spy: The HP Way Medal of Freedom. Definitely. Medal of Freedom.
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