12 April 2002 Bob Wayman, chief financial officer at systems giant Hewlett-Packard (HP), has sent a memo to HP employees denying that the company improperly used company assets or coerced shareholders to win votes for its merger with rival Compaq Computer.
The memo was issued a day after a voicemail to Wayman from CEO Carly Fiorina was leaked to the San Jose Mercury News. In that message, Fiorina expressed concern that two key institutional shareholders had turned against the deal just two days before they were scheduled to vote. Fiorina urged Wayman to “do something extraordinary” to win the support of Deutsche Bank and Northern Trust.
“Frankly, I find these allegations both insulting and infuriating,” says Wayman in Thursday’s memo. He warned employees that HP will not tolerate leaks, noting that others had taken place in recent weeks.
“Not only do I feel personally violated, but it is illegal and damaging to the company and your fellow employees,” said Wayman. The company is “vigorously investigating” the leaks, he added, and intends to prosecute those involved “to the fullest extent of HP policy and applicable law.”
He also took the opportunity in the memo to express his staunch support for Fiorina: “I am convinced there is no harder working CEO at any company anywhere. Carly works courageously and tirelessly on behalf of this company and all of its constituents. It’s time we embrace this company’s future and give our leadership our full support.”
HP executives have declined to say whether any disciplinary action has yet been taken against employees, but have conceded that the company has its own security experts working alongside third-party consultants to identify the source of the leaks.