Fiorina also pursued leaks at HP

Former HP chief Carly Fiorina ordered the first leak investigation in January 2005, she says in her memoir.

The former Hewlett-Packard chief executive Carly Fiorina, once the most prominent female executive in the United States, ordered the first of a series of leak investigations into contacts by board members with journalists in January 2005, she says in a long-anticipated memoir.

Fiorina was hired as chief executive in 1999 and led the company through a merger battle that family members of the company's founders and some directors bitterly resisted. She was fired in February 2005 when the resulting company failed to meet business goals.

Her book, "Tough Choices" (Portfolio Hardcover), which is embargoed for release on Tuesday and has been made available to reviewers only if they sign a nondisclosure agreement, was purchased at a bookstore Wednesday by a reporter for The New York Times.

In it, Fiorina reveals a good deal of resentment over her firing. She writes that after the board's final meeting on her fate, all but two members refused to confront her. And she indicates that she had little respect for some HP directors, whom she described as amateurish and immature.

The timing of the book is coincidental to last month's disclosures of two leak investigations that took place after Fiorina's departure. She has not commented on the boardroom spying scandal that has rocked the company and resulted in felony charges and firings.

It was known that the company was concerned about boardroom leaks even before Fiorina's departure, but it was not known that she had authorized the initial investigation.

That investigation, Fiorina writes, was conducted directly by the company's outside legal counsel, Larry Sonsini, after an article in The Wall Street Journal detailed an impending corporate reorganization.

The book makes no mention of questionable investigative methods like pretexting, which involves pretending to be someone else to obtain information from telephone company employees. Nor does the book say whether Fiorina directed Sonsini to spy on any individual reporter or director.

She writes that Sonsini personally interviewed every board member. He reported back to Fiorina that Thomas Perkins, the prominent Silicon Valley venture capitalist who had previously served on the HP board and would soon rejoin it, had been a source for the article.

Sonsini told her that Perkins had been "honest enough to admit that he'd spoken to the press."

Fiorina added, however, that she was deeply suspicious of another board member, George Keyworth, also known as Jay, because of his behavior at a board meeting and during a related board conference call.

More than a year later, for a reporter's article. That acknowledgment came after the company conducted two secret investigations into the activities of its board members, using private investigators who in turn made targets of the telephone records of nine reporters, including this reporter.

Keyworth's lawyer, Reginald J. Brown, denied Wednesday night that Keyworth was the source of the news article that provoked the first leak investigation.

The former board chairman, Patricia Dunn , was not involved in the decision to begin the initial investigation, Fiorina wrote, because she was on vacation in Bali and was not aware of the events that led to the first leak.

The California attorney general brought a felony complaint against Dunn on Wednesday for her involvement in the two subsequent leak investigations.

The account of the initial leak investigation, which appears in the final chapter of the book, notes that in late January, Sonsini reported the results of his inquiry during a board telephone conference call.

"Although I appreciated Tom's candor," Fiorina wrote in referring to Perkins, "I was deeply disturbed when no one else spoke up. As the call progressed, all but one board member asked questions or made comments."

That board member was Keyworth.

 

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