PALO ALTO, Calif., Sept. 22 — The furor over Hewlett-Packard’s spying operation claimed its highest-ranking victim on Friday with the immediate resignation of its chairwoman, Patricia C. Dunn.
The move was announced by Mark V. Hurd, the chief executive, who will now succeed her. But even as he offered an account of an investigation gone awry, and offered apologies to those whose privacy was invaded, he made it clear that many questions had yet to be answered.
His voice shaking, Mr. Hurd said a review of the means used to trace leaks from the company’s board had produced “very disturbing” findings. He also conceded that “I could have, and I should have,” read a report prepared for him while the operation was under way.
The investigators’ zeal led them into a shadowy world of surveillance, and in the end the giant computer company was embarrassed by its own use of technology.
Two executives who supervised the effort were also reported to be leaving.
Dunn should have been axed when the story broke a couple of weeks ago. There is no way she could have stayed on at HP in any capacity after this mess. In essence, Dunn has become the biggest pariah in corporate America this side of Ken Lay. She had better get some good lawyers fast because I have a feeling things are going to get a lot worse for her in the days, weeks, and months ahead.