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Former HP chairman Patricia Dunn tells Congress that CFO Robert Wayman authorized the boardroom leak investigation that has made the company the subject of civil, and possible criminal, investigations.
Stephen Taub, CFO.com | US
September 28, 2006
Former Hewlett-Packard chairman Patricia Dunn said the company's chief financial officer, Robert Wayman, approved an investigation into boardroom leaks that has since led to the resignation of Dunn and several other directors and executives.
On Thursday morning, general counsel Ann Baskins became the latest HP senior executive to leave the technology giant.
In planned testimony released late Wednesday by the House Energy and Commerce subcommittee, Dunn said that she relied on Wayman's expertise in dealing with board security issues. Specifically, Dunn noted that in early 2005, Wayman, who had been CFO and acting chief executive of HP, referred her to Kevin Huska, the head of global security for HP. "[Wayman] himself, as a director and top executive, was as concerned as anyone about the problem of leaks," Dunn stated.
Dunn said that in a meeting "near the CFO's office," Huska explained that the company dealt day-in and day-out with violations of its standards of business conduct related to unauthorized disclosure of confidential information, and that HP "had experienced resources" to deal with the problem. Huska, in turn, referred Dunn to Ronald DeLia, who was responsible for designing and implementing investigations involving breaches of confidential information on behalf of HP.
Dunn emphasized in her statement that she did not hire the private investigators. Rather, they were already employed by the company.
"It was my assumption that Mr. Wayman, having ultimate authority over all the resources involved in security and investigations, as well as having been one of the directors who felt the most strongly about the importance of controlling leaks from the board, had provided authorization for whatever work was undertaken," she said in the testimony.
During a protracted question-and-answer session with the committee members, however, Dunn made no mention of Wayman.
For its part, HP was standing behind its finance chief. "To the best of our knowledge, Bob Wayman had no involvement whatsoever in this leak investigation," HP spokesman Mike Moeller told Reuters. "Any assumption about Bob Wayman's involvement made by Ms. Dunn was nothing more than that, an assumption."
Meanwhile, Thursday morning HP announced that Baskins resigned as general counsel, effective immediately. She had spent her entire 24-year career with the company after graduating from law school.