Hurting Hurd

Hewlett-Packard’s executives pointed fingers and took some blame as they testified in front of a congressional subcommittee yesterday. But what I found shocking was the revelation that the men and women who ran the company didn’t recognize the unethical (and possibly illegal) aspects of their investigation into boardroom leaks.
Ex-chairwoman Patricia Dunn and CEO Mark Hurd both testified that they didn’t pay enough attention to the company’s investigations into the leaks, and that they were advised by internal counsel that it was legit.

But 10 witnesses took the Fifth Amendment against self-incrimination, including HP General Counsel Ann Baskins, who resignedat the opening of the hearing, and Kevin Hunsaker, a former HP lawyer.
Hurd said that while the buck stops with him, H-P is like “a small city,” and that he “cannot be the backstop for everything in the organization.”

Here’s what I found troubling. Hurd said, “I’m in charge of the company. We had breakdowns at multiple levels in the company. Pattie was the chairman. Responsibility goes across the entire company, including myself.” That doesn’t sound like a guy who is saying, “Blame me.” And I think that’s what he’ll need to do — and adamantly — in order to save his job.

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About Mike

Mike Buetow is president of the Printed Circuit Engineering Association ( He previously was editor-in-chief of Circuits Assembly magazine, the leading publication for electronics manufacturing, and PCD&F, the leading publication for printed circuit design and fabrication. He spent 21 years as vice president and editorial director of UP Media Group, for which he oversaw all editorial and production aspects. He has more than 30 years' experience in the electronics industry, including six years at IPC, an electronics trade association, at which he was a technical projects manager and communications director. He has also held editorial positions at SMT Magazine, community newspapers and in book publishing. He is a graduate of the University of Illinois. Follow Mike on Twitter: @mikebuetow