Leading Blog






10.08.06

Carly Fiorina: Hewlett-Packard Leaks

Tough Choices
The New York Times reported Thursday (October 5) that according to former Hewlett-Packard chief executive Carly Fiorina, she “ordered the first of a series of leak investigations into contacts by board members with journalists in January 2005.”

In her new book, Tough Choices, she writes that it began with the leak of a January 2005 meeting to the Wall Street Journal. After a suggestion by Larry Babbio that every Board member should resign, she wrote, “I suggested instead that we ask the Nominating and Governance Committee to launch an investigation to be conducted by outside counsel. On rare other occasions when we’d had an ethical issue arise in the company that warranted the Board’s attention, the Audit Committee had conducted an investigation with outside counsel. Because this was a matter internal to the Board, I felt the Nominating and Governance Committee should handle this one. No one argued.”

Fiornia continues:
Bob Knowling convened the committee by telephone ten minutes later. The members agreed that Larry Sonsini would interview each Board member. Bob requested that Larry use the interviews to conduct not only an investigation, but also an objective assessment of the Board. Beyond the leak, there was much about the Board’s dynamics that was disturbing. The committee agreed. Each Board member should be asked their views of the effectiveness of the Board, the qualifications of each Board member and how we could improve our meetings and deliberations. I thought it was a great idea. We needed to know what had happened to ensure that it never happened again, but perhaps we could also accomplish something more positive and productive. I thought we could weather this storm; we had weathered so many. I didn’t expect anyone to resign over this, nor did I intend to ask. I thought this could be a useful wake-up call to several board members who were not as smart as they thought they were.

It turns out I wasn’t as smart as I needed to be. Somehow, at some point during the next two weeks, certain Board members would decide to fire me.

Posted by Michael McKinney at 06:15 PM
| Comments (0) | Books , Leaders



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