HP Chairwoman Resigns

The pressure on Hewlett-Packard continues as more details about the scope and the means by which the company tried to spy on employees, board members and journalists have been disclosed.

Today, the company announced that embattled chairwoman Patricia Dunn will be stepping down immediately and not in January, 2007, as she had said she would do only last week. CEO Mark Hurd will assume the chairman role.

"I wish to apologize, both personally and on behalf of HP, to each of those who were affected. We believe these unacceptable measures were isolated instances that do not reflect the broader behavior and values of HP, its employees or its board," Hurd said, in a release. "But they cannot occur here again. Our actions today are intended to ensure that they never do."

The company also announced today that it has hired Bart Schwartz, a former U.S. prosecutor, to perform an independent review of the investigative methods used by the company.

As for Dunn, the HP board of directors said, "The board felt it was important to find the sources of the leaks of HP confidential information, and she informed the board that she had taken steps to do so. We have never questioned her intentions, her integrity or her ethics. To move forward, we believe it is in the company's best interest that she now step aside given the distraction her presence on our board continues to create. We regret that we will lose her contributions to the board and appreciate that she has agreed to our request."

In her statement, Dunn said she resigned at the request of the Board. She accepted responsibility, saying she was a subject of the investigation as well, but at the same time, she didn't "propose the specific methods of investigation" and that the people who did the investigation "let me and the company down.

"I have resigned today at the request of the board. The unauthorized disclosure of confidential information was a serious violation of our code of conduct. 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. I continue to have the best interests of HP at heart and thus I have accepted the board's request to resign. I look forward to appearing before Congress next week to answer their questions and help the company put this unfortunate event behind it."