Feeds

Former HP boss Patricia Dunn dies at 58

Legacy sullied by 'pretexting' scandal

Security for virtualized datacentres

Obituary Patricia Dunn, former chairman of HP, died on Sunday at the age of 58 after a long fight with cancer.

Dunn was appointed to the top job at HP in 2005 after joining the board in 1998. She lasted barely a year before being forced out and charged with hiring a team of private investigators to tap the phones of journalists and board members in a bid to stop corporate information leaking: the so-called "pretexting" scandal.

Some of the methods used by the investigators hired by HP were found to be illegal, even though Dunn insisted that she had been told that no laws were being broken. The case led to investigations by the Securities and Exchange Commission, FBI, House of Representatives, and the attorney general of California. Two HP board membersresigned in protest at the company’s actions.

HP ended up paying $14.5m to the state of California in a settlement of the charges, as well as paying off certain journalists who were targeted and kicking Dunn out of her job. Dunn was replaced by Mark Hurd, who many commentators thought was lucky to escape firing himself, but who successfully convinced investigators that he was not at fault.

The "company later acknowledged she did not authorize, direct or conduct the investigation,'' her husband William Jahnke told the Wall Street Journal. "She was asked to resign from the board because her continued presence had become a distraction.''

The result was to haunt Dunn’s otherwise exemplary record. She dropped out of university at an early age to care for a parent before finishing her degree and joining Wells Fargo as a temporary secretary. She quickly rose to become head of Barclays Global Investors, which had bought her division, and at the time of her appointment to the board was seen as one of the most financially capable female business leaders in the US.

Dunn received treatment in the last decade for melanoma and breast cancer, and was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2004, which spread to her liver. She is survived by her husband.

"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," HP said in a widely-reported statement. ®

Security and trust: The backbone of doing business over the internet

More from The Register

next story
Phones 4u slips into administration after EE cuts ties with Brit mobe retailer
More than 5,500 jobs could be axed if rescue mission fails
Driving with an Apple Watch could land you with a £100 FINE
Bad news for tech-addicted fanbois behind the wheel
Phones 4u website DIES as wounded mobe retailer struggles to stay above water
Founder blames 'ruthless network partners' for implosion
Sony says year's losses will be FOUR TIMES DEEPER than thought
Losses of more than $2 BILLION loom over troubled Japanese corp
Radio hams can encrypt, in emergencies, says Ofcom
Consultation promises new spectrum and hints at relaxed licence conditions
Special pleading against mass surveillance won't help anyone
Protecting journalists alone won't protect their sources
Big Content Australia just blew a big hole in its credibility
AHEDA's research on average content prices did not expose methodology, so appears less than rigourous
Bono: Apple will sort out monetising music where the labels failed
Remastered so hard it would be difficult or impossible to master it again
prev story

Whitepapers

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
The next step in data security
With recent increased privacy concerns and computers becoming more powerful, the chance of hackers being able to crack smaller-sized RSA keys increases.