Report: Former HP CEO also blames board for Autonomy deal

Report: Former HP CEO also blames board for Autonomy deal

Summary: HP's CEO during the Autonomy merger tells Bloomberg that the board should also share the blame.


Everyone is pointing fingers and playing the blame game in Hewlett-Packard's Autonomy debacle, and now the tech giant's leader at the time of the merger is getting involved.

Former HP CEO Leo Apotheker responded to Bloomberg this week, arguing that the company's board of directors should also take responsibility in this case.

Here's the email that Apotheker sent to Bloomberg:

No single CEO is ever able to make a decision on a major acquisition in isolation, particularly at a company as large as HP -- and certainly not without the full support of the chairman of the board. The HP board, led by its chairman, met many times to review the acquisition and unanimously supported the deal, as well as the underlying strategic objective to bolster HP’s market presence in enterprise data.

For reference, Raymond Lane, HP's current Executive Chairman, has served in this role since September 2011. He also served as HP’s non-executive Chairman between November 2010 and September 2011. The $10.2 billion acquisition of Autonomy was announced in August 2011 and was completed by October 2011.

Here's a recap of some of the recent happenings in the HP-Autonomy kerfuffle. This all started after HP admitted in its fourth quarter earnings statement last month that the Autonomy purchase cost its software unit up to $8.8 billion.

On November 26, an HP investor filed a lawsuit at a federal court in San Francisco on Monday, alleging that the tech giant knew its statements about its Autonomy acquisition were misleading, which led the stock to fall.

The following day, Autonomy's founder and former CEO Mike Lynch got into an open letter war over allegations by HP regarding "serious accounting improprieties" that were said to have taken place at Autonomy before the acquisition was completed.

Moody's Investors Service has also downgraded HP's long-term credit rating from A3 to Baa1, which is three levels above junk, with a negative outlook.

For more coverage about HP and Autonomy on ZDNet:

Topics: Hewlett-Packard, Enterprise Software, Legal, Software, Tech Industry

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  • No brainer

    If there had been opposition, then Mr. Apotheker would either have been forced to abandon the deal, or we certainly would have heard about it, as we did with the Compaq merger (people might recall that the shareholders ended up deciding that one).

    The HP board members of the time, including the current CEO, get to share the blame.
    John L. Ries
    • Whitman's Line

      "Don't blame me - it's all my predecessor's fault." How much longer?
  • Leo

    Need I say more?
  • Um, yeah right

    Apothekar is the Captain. He brought the deal and SOLD it to the Board of Directors who, to their discredit, HIRED Apothekar.

    They all share blame but not in the way that Apothekar is painting it.
    1) The Board is absolute guilty of negligence when it comes to hiring their CEOs. They dial in the interview and barely even meet them before pulling the trigger. I have heard this from credible sources in HP.

    2) they hire their CEOs as if they are taking a cancer curing drug - no strategy or outline - just a "Fixit" person.

    3) Apothekar is guilty of putting the blame back on the board. It was HE who architected and rushed the acquisition and approval through a board of directors who are , again, negligent in their responsibilities.
    Yes, he was right in stating that the acquisition was made with permission, but it is very TElling when a person puts blame on the board for a company that He himself is running
    • The board approved it...

      ,,,and therefore is responsible; but so is Leo Apotheker (more so, since he was the CEO and probably initiated the deal). But since Meg Whitman was on that board, she can't dodge responsibility for it either.

      Unless a member publicly dissents, he shares responsibility for the decisions of the body.
      John L. Ries