Patricia Dunn, who was HP board chair when an internal investigation into media leaks erupted in controversy following exposure of illegal investigative techniques, died following a battle with cancer.
who was chairwoman of Hewlett-Packard when the board of directors was hit with
accusations of spying on not only directors but also journalists in an effort
to curtail leaks to the media, has died following a battle with ovarian cancer.
She was 58.
HP's board of directors in 1998, and took over as chairwoman seven years later
following the resignation of HP CEO Carly Fiorina in 2005. A year later, the
board of directors was embroiled in controversy when it was discovered that, in
hopes of shutting leaks of information to the media, HP had hired private
investigators who used a method called pretexting designed to find the source
of the leaks.
The goal of
the internal investigation was to find who from the board was talking to the
media about the details of closed directors meetings. Pretexting is a method by
which a person pretends to be the owner of a cell phone in order to obtain
billing records from that cell phone. As the scandal unfolded, it was
determined that not only had this illegal method been used to obtain the
records from board members, but also from some reporters with The Wall Street Journal
, CNET and BusinessWeek
, to whom most of the
information was leaked.
kicked up a storm of controversy, and led to criminal charges against Dunn and
others, as well as congressional hearings. It also led to her resignation from the board
in 2006, as
well as the resignation of other directors, including George Keyworth II, a
longtime member who eventually was found to have been the source of the media
leaks that lead to the internal investigation.
replaced as chair by Mark Hurd, who had taken over as CEO following Fiorina's
At the time of
her resignation, Dunn admitted in a statement that "inappropriate"
investigative techniques had been used.
recent events that have taken place follow an important investigation that was
required after the board sought to resolve the persistent disclosure of
confidential information from within its ranks," Dunn said in the
statement. "Unfortunately, the investigation, which was conducted with
third parties, included certain inappropriate techniques."
HP issued a
brief statement on Dunn's death: "Pattie Dunn worked tirelessly for the good of
HP. We are saddened by the news of her passing, and our thoughts go out to her
family on their loss."