Originally created 09/09/06

Leader asserts board's support



SAN FRANCISCO - Hewlett-Packard Co. Chairwoman Patricia Dunn said Friday that several of her fellow board members want to her remain on the job despite a criminal investigation into her efforts to plug a media leak - a crusade that spawned a ruse to obtain the personal phone records of company directors and at least nine reporters.

"I serve at the pleasure of the board," she told The Associated Press. "I totally trust their judgment. If they think it would be better for me to step aside, I would do that. But a number of directors have urged me to hang in there."

HP's board is at the center of an imbroglio that threatens to cause a major distraction for the Palo Alto-based company as it tries to build on a recent run of success in the personal computer and other high-tech markets.

Incensed by several media stories that quoted unnamed people concerning information shared during HP board meetings, Ms. Dunn authorized an investigation earlier this year to determine whether any of the directors were talking out of turn.

The inquiry convinced HP that George Keyworth II had been providing reporters with confidential information. The company is punishing him by preventing him from running for re-election to the board.

In Friday's interview, Ms. Dunn branded the leaks as an "egregious breach" of HP's standards and emphasized the investigation was conducted with the full backing of the board. "This was not my spy campaign on our board."

As part of their surveillance, the company's investigators posed as HP directors and at least nine reporters to obtain personal phone records. As part of the masquerade, the investigators used the Social Security numbers of the people involved to dupe the phone companies into turning over the records.