02:07 AM

3.15.07 Charges against Dunn dropped, Hurd wins battles with retirement funds

California has dropped charges against Pattie Dunn, and charges against the three other defendants will be dismissed once they complete their community service.

NYT: Charges Dismissed in HP Spying Case

Good timing for Mark Hurd, who for the first time since the fiasco broke, was facing shareholders at the annual meeting.

“Let me assure you that no one is proud of what happened last year,” Mr. Hurd told shareholders. “We need to transform our board the same way we transformed the company.”

Exactly how that transformation takes place was the subject of investor debate. CALPers and other big investors wanted to be able to appoint some directors. Hurd was against that - and again, Hurd got his way.

They voted to re-elect all eight members of the current board, and voted down a proposal to allow stockholders to nominate up to two board candidates, leaving the responsibility with Mr. Hurd and the other directors.

That proposal, which gained about 39 percent of the shares voted on Wednesday, was fiercely opposed by H.P. executives, who said the board already accommodated shareholder input.

While there are still other investigation under way (notably at SEC), HP was escaped the storm. No one is going to jail, although a few people lost their jobs. Hurd is firmly in control and investors big and small must simply trust that HP culture has changed on a dime and it's smooth sailing ahead.