HP affair claims another scalp

The Hewlett Packard ‘pre-texting’ scandal has claimed the head of another senior executive. Ann Baskins, HP’s general counsel, has resigned from the company, with immediate effect.

‘I want to thank Ann for 24 years of outstanding service and devotion to HP,’ said Mark Hurd, HP chairman and chief executive officer. ‘Stepping down was a very hard decision for her, but by doing so she has put the interests of HP above her own and that is to be commended.’

Baskin is the fourth executive to resign from the company following the revelations that company executives at the highest level sanctioned surveillance of board members and journalists. So far, HP has seen the departure of Chairman Patricia Dunn, senior counsel Kevin Hunsaker and internal investigator Anthony Gentilucci.

It is not known to what extent Baskin was involved in the decisions leading up to the scandal. However, given that she refused to give evidence at the House Energy and Commerce Committee hearing by evoking the Fifth Amendment to the Constitution which gives the right to silence to anyone who fears they may incriminate themselves.

The Committee itself is unimpressed. Representative Dianna Degette tore into the company saying the affair was a ‘dark chapter in corporate governance’ and that she was ‘very concerned about the judgment that went into these decisions and why, with a company of HP’s sophistication, nobody – neither the board, nor its CEO, nor its general counsel, nor its outside counsel had the common sense to say, “NO, this is not the HP Way”.’

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