HP Live!: Dunn is Officially Gone.

And here we go with the HP webcast. It starts off on two bad notes, with it being almost ten minutes late getting going, and with HP saying Mark Hurd will not take questions. More coming in this same post ….


This is edge-of-precipice stuff. Hurd is being very, very careful, with lots of use of weasel words like “I recall”, “I think”, “I understand”, etc.

And now the blockbuster news (that had to happen, and I repeatedly said would happen): Chair Patricia Dunn has resigned from HP effectively immediately. Hurd is the new chair.

My main impression is that HP is gob-smacked. They are only now realizing the seriousness of the problem they have gotten themselves into. They are nervous, belatedly semi-open, and unsure of themselves. Hurd himself is uneasy through and through, lacking confidence, ill-at-ease, not clear on his own participation, and generally sounds like he is on a short leash, likely one imposed by his lawyers. The unwillingness to let HP CEO Mark Hurd handle more than a preamble in this call — we’re now onto other speakers — is highly revealing.

In reading the Dunn resignation release, it is interesting that Dunn still didn’t agree with leaving. She say she left “at the request of the board”. Sounding for all the world like Colonel Jessup at the climax of “A Few Good Men,” she plaintively says the following:

I followed the proper processes by seeking the assistance of HP security personnel. I did not select the people who conducted the investigation, which was undertaken after consultation with board members. I accepted the responsibility to identify the sources of those leaks, but I did not propose the specific methods of the investigation. I was a full subject of the investigation myself and my phone records were examined along with others. Unfortunately, the people HP relied upon to conduct this type of investigation let me and the company down.

The ongoing investigation into the investigtion is still being described, and either Mark Hurd is the most politically astute and lucky CEO ever — he is Zelig-like, everywhere around the bad decisions being made, but not yet tied to actually making any of them — or his nervousness off the top is highly warranted.


  1. Dunn is gone. Hurd is uncharacteristically shaky on this call. He’s usually very slick. But he’s having trouble pronouncing words and generally sounding awkward.

  2. Going through people’s trash. Awesome.

  3. The main problem with that conference call is it didn’t put closure on anything other than Dunn. It still doesn’t seem like HP really knows what is going on. I mean what has happened to those other people who were involved with SOS like Vincent, Fred, and Kevin. Are they gone?

  4. Agreed. We got partial answers here, and while the worst _may_ be past, thing don’t magically improve now. Hurd remains on thin ice, and there is more to come.
    As an aside, I am continually amazed at Patty Dunn’s tonedeafness. In her resignation she offers up that she was pretexted too, as if that makes everything okay. Unbelievable.

  5. I listened to it too, and I would agree that Hurd sounded uneasy — perhaps even scared. I still found it amazing that his only defence for not knowing the extent of all this was that he forgot to read a report someone sent him.

  6. Hi Paul,
    I had also been calling for Dunn to resign (not that anyone cares). But now she is gone, as she should have resigned long time ago, the mess (aka Dunn-gate) is still with us. HP is in a mess. Its good name is now deep in the mud. And I even used HP and Enron in the same sentence in one of my recent posting.
    On a “lighter” note, can someone help me on what the h*ck were the names of those songs that were playing before and after the webcast? I want to know what kind of lyrics were sang. Serious. I swear I heard the word “prison” in the song after the press conference. But then it might just be my wishful thinking or my bad hearing.
    All in all, a truly sad day for HP. And I even felt sorry for Dunn. She should have resigned long ago. And I derived no joy from calling for and seeing her resign. On a human and personal level, she had gone through her battles with cancer and stuff and I felt sorry for her. At the same time, her personal struggle should and will not be allowed as an execuse to what she did to the board of directors and relatives, the journalists, HP employees, and destroying HP at the same time.
    Yours sincerely,
    P.S. I created a quick new blog posting with this long title —
    “HP Leak webcast – Dunn is done effective immediately – Dunn-gate investigation goes on with one million pages of documents”

  7. I listened to the webcast as well and was sure that Hurd was beginning to choke back tears a couple times. His diction was incredily poor, and he had difficulty completing some sentences.
    He must be seeing his career flash before his eyes. “I didn’t read the report. I should have.”
    What else could possibly have been more important to the company at the moment he chose not to read that report??

  8. Love your freudian typo – “Patrician” Dunn. She may indeed have considered herself royalty and therefore beyond reproach.

  9. First of all, don’t you think this would all have gone away if Dunn had just said “Oops, my bad. I should just leave” when this first came to light? Or better still, if they had just filed the amendment Perkins was asking for? Instead Dunn managed to bring a searchlight on the whole shebang costing HP its reputation and a lot of $$ on their stock price.
    Nice to see that accountability and taking responsibility for your actions is so alive and well. Not.
    Second of all: gob-smacked? Paul, just how long did you spend in England to pick up a phrase like that???

  10. A stark feature of this, for anyone who spent time with Bill Hewlett or Dave Packard while they were associated with the company, is how this really could not have happened in the environment they fostered. How low this company has fallen. Every time Mark Hurd tries to justify any aspect of the program he just underlines that difference.
    The company’s founders would have led with and kept the focus on a clear acknowledgement that wrong was done, without the ‘weasel words’. How can any HP employee anticipate ethical treatment from the company in the future, without clear leadership on this point? The board, which appears to have completely lost its way, does not seem to understand even now the extent of the mess they have led the company into.

  11. For what it’s worth, Hurd was not choking back tears. He was pausing to drink from a bottle of water. He also was reading almost verbatim from a statement, perhaps made more difficult thanks to glasses precariously perched on his nose. In person, he didn’t sound quite as unsure of himself as a lot of folks seemed to hear, but neither did he look real happy to be there.

  12. A bit of internet research revealed that Ms. Patricia Dunn-Jahnke is now serving as Non-Executive Vice Chairman of the Board of Barclay’s Global Investors (since 2002). Before she began as Barclay’s Vice Chairman, she worked there (when it was Wells Fargo), beginning in ’86 as a part-time secretary and unbelievably moved up to become Chairman and CEO!!! She graduated from UC Berkely in ’75 with a B.A. in Journalism. The Financial Women’s Assn. of San Francisco bestowed the award “Financial Woman of the Year” to Ms. Dunn-Jahnke in 2001. I guess my concern/question is how a Journalism major would be a “financial” expert in such demand for top shelf companies. Also, from her performance before a Congressional committee, I truly question her meteoric rise to such heights of prestige and power! I’m wondering if her particular brand of “genius” still has the same lustre for Barclay’s?

  13. Hope you all watched 60 minutes.
    Maybe, just maybe, you all have been duped by a vitriolic campaign of a megalomaniac billionaire.
    If so, you have become much like the villagers in Monty Python and the Holy Grail
    ” How do you know she’s a witch?”
    “well, she turned me into a Newt!”
    “I got better”
    (later the witch was burned at the stake because she weighed more than a duck)