HP director Keyworth resigns

HP said on Tuesday that director George A. (Jay) Keyworth, who had been fingered as the source of media leaks, will step down from the company's board.

In a statement, Keyworth said he was the source for a January CNET News.com story, but said he believed he was acting in the best interests of the company.

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"I acknowledge that I was a source for a CNET article that appeared in January 2006," Keyworth said. "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."

Keyworth said that past statements were "praised by senior company officials as helpful to the company."

"The comments I made to the CNET reporter were, I believed, in the best interest of the company and also did not involve the disclosure of confidential or damaging information."

In his statement, Keyworth also lashed out at the investigation tactics used in the leak probe. "The invasion of my privacy and that of others was ill-conceived and inconsistent with HP's values," he said.

Keyworth's resignation comes just as HP said that Chairman Patricia Dunn, who spearheaded the leak probe, will step down from her chairman's post in January. She will remain on the board, HP said.

Former board member Tom Perkins, who stepped down in May amid a disagreement with Dunn over the probe said Tuesday: "I believe in HP. I believe in (HP CEO) Mark Hurd. I applaud Jay Keyworth for his courage in stepping down today and thank Patricia Dunn for her grace in letting HP move on. This too shall pass."

Hurd, meanwhile, apologized to Perkins. "On behalf of HP, I apologize to Tom Perkins for the intrusion into his privacy," Hurd said. "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."

He also praised Keyworth for his long tenure on the board. "Jay is an important member of the HP family," Hurd said. "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."

In the statement, HP said that Keyworth often had contacts with the press to explain HP's interests at the company's request, but said "The board does not believe that Dr. Keyworth's contact with CNET in January 2006 was vetted through appropriate channels, but also recognizes that his discussion with the CNET reporter was undertaken in an attempt to further HP's interests."

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About the author

    During her years at CNET News, Ina Fried has changed beats several times, changed genders once, and covered both of the Pirates of Silicon Valley. These days, most of her attention is focused on Microsoft. E-mail Ina.

     

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