The furor over HP’s $8.8 billion writedown of its $11.1 billion acquisition of Autonomy refuses to die down.
HP blamed $5 billion of the writedown on accounting fraud at Autonomy. CEO Meg Whitman also singled out two HP executives for blame, former CEO Apotheker and former chief strategy officer, Shane Robison.
And now Apotheker is joing the fray, trying to clear his name.
In email to a reporter, he says you have to start the blame game at the top: with HP’s board and its executive chairman, Ray Lane.
In an e-mail to Bloomberg’s Aaron Ricadela, Apotheker said:
“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,” Apotheker said in an e-mailed statement yesterday. “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.”
Maybe Apotheker has a point.
He was hired because of his expertise in software. Lane was known from the get-go as a guy up to his elbows crafting HP strategy.
While much has been said about CEO Meg Whitman’s role in the acquisition – she was on the board at the time – there’s been less finger pointing at Lane.
(Except among HP’s rank-and-file employees, some of whom are muttering that he should be held accountable.)
Don’t expect Whitman or the board to come out and accept blame.
That would open the company to lawsuits, and its already fending off at least two.
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