Feeds

HP: How not to manage a crisis

Not so Agile Business

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

Comment HP grows leakier by the hour: today's Pretexting Scandal episode, brought to you by an unnamed source of the NY Times reveals that the company "conducted feasibility studies on planting spies in news bureaus of [CNET and The Wall Street Journal] as part of an investigation of leaks from its board". Check out those janitors, before they check you out.

Internal mails leaked yesterday to the Times and the WSJ undermine the know-nothing defence of the HP board. And they also blow a hole into the timeline offered by HP for its probe into the identity of the board snitch, which saw private detectives engaging in identity fraud to nab the phone records of nine US journalists, and even sending a trojan in an email to one surveillance target(it failed to load).

Worse, former board director Tom Perkins says he was told by chairman Patricia Dunn that a stepped-up investigation had begun into board leaks on 23 January, 2006 after an article about HP was published in CNET. However, CNET reporter Dawn Kawamoto was told by government investigators that her phone records were accessed on 17 January.

Rarely has deniability looked less plausible.

Barely a day has gone by since September 5, when Perkins debuted the Pretexting Scandal in an interview with Newsweek, without an unwelcome revelation or three for the beleaguered board. Each titbit brings with it the prospect of another lawsuit [although CNET would be exceptionally brave to sue one of its biggest advertisers]. What a mess.

So Dunn has resigned as chairman - but not till January. And she stays on as director. Her replacement? Why, CEO Mark Hurd, who gets to hold the top two jobs. That's how to trigger an argument over corporate governance. And what happens if, God forbid, Hurd, who has been conspicuous in his silence on the matter, is dragged into the debacle? That's two top jockeys the corporate headhunters will have to find.

This is an object lesson in how not to manage a PR crisis. Given the threat of criminal action hanging over individuals, it is understandable that the HP board has displayed the decisiveness of a rabbit caught in headlights. But may we recommend the Japanese Way of handling such things. Admit everything; accept responsibility for everything; issue a craven apology in front of the TV crows, and walk with head bowed out the door marked mass resignation. And don't forget to put that hefty severance check in your back pocket. Then everyone can move on. Except for the class action lawsuits, of course.

Admittedly, some aspects of the Japanese Way do not translate particularly well into corporate America – jumping out of tall buildings and Seppuku, or ritual self-disembowelling, are best left to people more accustomed to the traditions. . ®

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

More from The Register

next story
Facebook pays INFINITELY MORE UK corp tax than in 2012
Thanks for the £3k, Zuck. Doh! you're IN CREDIT. Guess not
DOUBLE BONK: Testy fanbois catch Apple Pay picking pockets
Users wail as tapcash transactions are duplicated
Happiness economics is bollocks. Oh, UK.gov just adopted it? Er ...
Opportunity doesn't knock; it costs us instead
YARR! Pirates walk the plank: DMCA magnets sink in Google results
Spaffing copyrighted stuff over the web? No search ranking for you
In the next four weeks, 100 people will decide the future of the web
While America tucks into Thanksgiving turkey, the world will be taking over the net
Microsoft EU warns: If you have ties to the US, Feds can get your data
European corps can't afford to get complacent while American Big Biz battles Uncle Sam
prev story

Whitepapers

Choosing cloud Backup services
Demystify how you can address your data protection needs in your small- to medium-sized business and select the best online backup service to meet your needs.
Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.