Thursday, October 05, 2006

The HP Spy Ring

I have to admit, I’ve found the HP spying case more interesting than a lot of the corporate scandals of late. Lord knows I liked all those colorful “life styles of the rich and famous” stories that went along with them – who didn’t love reading about the birthday party for Dennis K’s wife, etc.? – but a lot of the real story was around accounting practices. Yawn.

Now, a story with traces of Sam Spade and Kim Philby - that’s a lot juicier than green-eye shades, sleeve-garters, and spreadsheets.

What’s getting lost in all the ‘what did Patricia Dunn – and, now, Carly Fiorina – know and when did she know it?’ – is the fact that the Board of Directors is still fully intact, and the new chairman of the company is inheriting a group that he in no way shape or form can fully trust. After all, the entire spying fiasco started because some Board member was doing some sneaky tell-all to the press. I guess it would be too much to expect that the guilty Boardie would fess up (or at least quietly resign). Good luck to Mark Hurd at his next Board meeting!

P.S. I’m not one to play the automatic gender card, but I do suspect that this would be less of a story if it didn’t involve a woman-led (Dunn) company, that was previously run by one of the most visible women in the technology world (Fiorina). Maybe it’s just fairplay – treat the girls the same as you treat the boys – but there seems to be a tiny little element of glee that there’s a woman in the center of this whirlwind.

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