Keyworth Resigns HP Board

George Keyworth, a 21-year Hewlett-Packard board member, has resigned, saying, "The invasion of my privacy and that of others was ill-conceived and inconsistent with HP's values."

K.C. Jones, Contributor

September 12, 2006

3 Min Read

George "Jay" Keyworth, a former science advisor to President Ronald Reagan, resigned from Hewlett-Packard's board Tuesday.

"It has been one of the greatest honors and pleasures of my life to serve on the board, and I have sought to conduct myself in a way that would make our co-founder and my friend and mentor, David Packard, proud," Keyworth said through a prepared statement. "The invasion of my privacy and that of others was ill-conceived and inconsistent with HP's values."

Keyworth acknowledged being a source of information in a January article by one of nine reporters whose phone records were obtained in an HP media leak probe.

"I was frequently asked by HP corporate communications officials to speak with reporters -- both on the record and on background -- in an effort to provide the perspective of a longstanding board member with continuity over much of the company's history," he said.

Keyworth said HP's leaders praised his comments as helpful and said he believed the information he provided to a reporter were in the best interest of the company. He said he did not believe the information he disclosed was confidential or damaging.

Board members said in a joint statement that the company had, in fact, asked Keyworth to contact the press but the January contact was not vetted through the appropriate channels. The board also recognized that Keyworth spoke to the reporter in "an attempt to further HP's interests."

In the same statement, HP Board Chairperson Patricia Dunn expressed regret for the intrusion into Keyworth's privacy.

Keyworth served 21 years. He announced his resignation, effective immediately, just hours after the company announced that Dunn would step aside in January. Dunn will remain on the board, while Chief Executive Officer and President Mark Hurd will fill the chair.

"There is but one issue that matters now and that is that Mark Hurd and the company have every opportunity to move beyond and above the current morass," Keyworth said. "While I intend to remain a member of the HP family, and to advise Mark where I can help, it is best for the company that every aspect of this unfortunate matter be put in the past."

Thomas Perkins, a venture capitalist and friend of Keyworth's who resigned in protest of the media leak probe in May said he believes in Hurd and HP.

"I applaud Jay Keyworth for his courage in stepping down today and thank Patricia Dunn for her grace in letting HP move on," Perkins said. "This too shall pass."

Hurd apologized to Perkins on behalf of HP for the intrusion to his privacy.

"I thank Tom for his contributions, his principles and his help in getting HP past this episode toward its rightful place as the envy of corporate America," Hurd said in the joint statement. "Jay is an important member of the HP family. He has served admirably for more than two decades and has provided great expertise, especially on matters relating to technology policy. We wish him well. I appreciate his long and distinguished service to HP."

Hurd said he personally valued Keyworth's experienced counsel and hoped Keyworth would continue providing it.

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