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By | John Oates 12th September 2006 14:58

HP chairman apologises, promises to go (sort of)


HP chairman Patricia Dunn will leave the position in January next year and be replaced by current CEO Mark Hurd. Dunn's position has been shaky since her role in the snooping scandal became public - Dunn hired private detectives to spy on directors and reporters.

HP is facing investigation by the Stock Exchange Commission, the FBI, House of Representatives, and the attorney general of California over the allegations.

Dunn stays at the top until January and will remain a director after that. Also in January, Richard Hackborn, an HP director since 1992, becomes "lead independent director".

Dunn said: "The 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. These leaks had the potential to affect not only the stock price of HP but also that of other publicly traded companies. Unfortunately, the investigation, which was conducted with third parties, included certain inappropriate techniques. These went beyond what we understood them to be, and I apologise that they were employed.

"I am very proud of the progress HP has made over the past 18 months. During the remainder of my tenure as chairman, I look forward to completing the transition that is underway, including expanding the board, continuing to improve our corporate governance standards and bringing the current issues to resolution."

HP CEO Mark Hurd said: "I am taking action to ensure that inappropriate investigative techniques will not be employed again. They have no place in HP."

Whether that action is enough to convince staff, shareholders, federal investigators, and snooped-upon directors remains to be seen.

More from Businesswire, via Yahoo!, here.

The markets seem unfazed by the unravelling scandal. HP's share price has stayed steady on the New York Stock Exchange, trading up almost one per cent in morning trading. ®

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