As I outlined in an earlier post, there was no way Hewlett Packard Chairman Patricia Dunn would survive the "pretexting" scandal. That having been said, the HP board totally wimped out and let her retain her board seat while having her step down at some arbitrarily decided time in the future, being Jan 1, 2007.
To the shock of all involved, it now looks like the stupidity involved in the drive to ferret out the leaks was far greater than anyone imagined outside of most people with IQ's below 10 who somehow believed the first explanation, kind of like the US drive to find WMD's in Iraq. The NYT is now reporting that it looks like HP-employed investigators attempted to install spyware software on reporters' computers and may have even followed them around to track down their sources, in addition to the general idiocy involved in the investigation. I assume this type of information will continue to expand as we hear more about it, as it always does.
Let's be blunt - Chairwoman Dunn should (and will) fully resign unlike this first attempt at gradual resignation, and most probably, the General Counsel who managed the investigation will do so as well. This is unfortunate since Silicon Valley doesn't have enough senior female executives, but you can't do these types of things and continue to be involved with public companies, especially those with formerly stellar reputations. There is a larger debate about the role of HP outside counsel Larry Sonsini (of Brocade stock option backdating fame), but that will not end up being relevant since my assumption is that he will be off the board shortly as well. It's unfortunate since we have lost track of the core issue that a board member was allegedly leaking information, but given the illegal behavior involved here, it's not a big surprise.