It's been like watching serial bungee jumping by HP's board-level management. With the release of damming e-mails to the Congressional committee and their supply (leaking?) to papers then Dunn's bungee jump hit the deck. Not Mark Hurd's though. He bounced all the way back up to the jumping off point and then bounced higher still.
It became clear that HP CEO and chairman-elect Mark Hurd knew and authorised in some way, or at leat did not object to, the pretexting and deception of journalists. But this revelation damaged Patricia Dunn more than Mark Hurd. HP has to move forward, it has to mend fences. Its CEO can do that as he is relatively untarnished. Dunn can't. She is covered in tarnish from head to foot. Her fan has brown stuff stuck all over it.
At Friday's press announcement - it was not a conference; there were no questions allowed - Hurd admitted he was the 'Mark' referred to in Dunn's emails about the deception suggestions including spyware planting on a journalist's PC and planting fake staff in news rooms of the Wall Street Journal and CNET. But he didn't read them carefully enough and only approved peripheral, unimportant aspects of the investigation. Not me gov, honest.
Wow! The HP Way is littered with smoking guns. The carefully-brokered and choreographed Dun resignation/Hurd takeover next January has fallen apart. Dunn goes now, both as chairwoman and as a board member - off with her head. Hurd becomes chairman, as well as CEO, immediately. So public abasement for company and a pay rise for Hurd. Not a bad Friday afternoon's work.
Just to put icing on HP's reformed sinner cake the chief ethics officer, Kevin Hunsaker, is reportedly leaving as is Anthony Gentilucci, its chief of global investigations.
On the leak investigation front, the Hurd, now HP, position is that Dunn's investigation went too far, HP went too far, but it was right that board leaks should be investigated.
Well, quite right. How on earth can a board have discussions in confidence if one lousy board member is leaking their view of confidential material to press contacts. It's called deceit and it's wrong.
So HP went too far. Still it got its man, George Keyworth, albeit at some cost and acres of both paper and online publicity. We all love a reformed sinner - think Clinton - and Hurd, reportedly with tears in his eyes at the press event, seems tailor-made for the role.
And gosh, oh my, all that HP publicity, huge publicity. Like the Mastercard ad says: "It's priceless." It's all been like a monumentally large bungee jump for HP and I reckon it will bounce back stronger than ever.
PS. Over on the shady side of the street (that is no longer called HP Way by the way) if you ever do need to trace a leak from your company, go to Security Outsourcing Solutions and a certain Ray DeLia (is there a missing 'r' at the end of his name?). Great publicity for it too - it got HP's leaker. didn't it.