HP taps Sitrick & Company as crisis grows

LOS ANGELES: Hewlett Packard and resigning chairwoman of the board Patricia Dunn have hired crisis management agency Sitrick & Company to handle media relations on HP's leak-investigation crisis.

LOS ANGELES: Hewlett Packard and resigning chairwoman of the board Patricia Dunn have hired crisis management agency Sitrick & Company to handle media relations on HP's leak-investigation crisis.

"We are working with internal PR people, the company, and the management," said CEO Michael Sitrick. He said he could not discuss strategy on the HP account, per his agency's policy on client strategy. HP has declined to speak about its communications strategy.

Dunn will step down from her position in January but remain on the board, HP announced today. At that time, CEO Mark Hurd will replace her as chairman.

The crisis began when HP chairman Patricia Dunn ordered an investigation into potential leakers, after CNet wrote an extensive January 23 article on the company's long-term strategy, sourcing an unidentified person within the company. The company was allegedly trying to figure out if a board member was the cause of the leaks. In the process, an investigator hired by the company accessed phone records of nine reporters, through an illegal method called "pretexting."

George A. (Jay) Keyworth, a veteran of the HP board since 1986 and the reported HP leaker, resigned effective immediately, the company said today.

Keyworth said: "Today I have announced my intention to resign from the HP board after more than 21 years of serviceā€¦. The invasion of my privacy and that of others was ill-conceived and inconsistent with HP's values."

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