HP Spying Scandal
3) HP "pretext" scandal
For 60 years, Hewlett-Packard helped provide a moral compass for Silicon Valley. The company promised to adhere to "The HP Way," a list of principles that included operating with "uncompromising integrity."
In 2006, HP tarnished its reputation when Chairman Patricia Dunn (bottom left)--with the approval of then CEO Mark Hurd (bottom right)--sent private detectives on a mission to spy on members of the company's board as well as reporters from such publications as The Wall Street Journal and CNET. HP managers were searching for the source of a boardroom leak.
Investigators followed their victims and eavesdropped on their conversations. To gather private phone records belonging to the reporters and board directors, HP investigators called up telephone companies pretending to be the victims, a practice known as pretexting. Dunn eventually resigned and Hurd got a stern talking to by lawmakers before replacing Dunn as chairman.
Hurd gets a special shout-out for being the only exec to make our Top 10 twice.
November 8, 2010 5:05 AM PST
Photo by: Greg Sandoval for CNET/HP
| Caption by: Greg Sandoval
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