HP's dangerously dysfunctional board is the real problem

Most directors had not met Leo Apotheker before hiring him and other dumb things

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If you have to duck a board meeting or two to maintain your sanity, well, that'd be the responsible thing to do, wouldn't it?

All the infighting started, the Times reports, after the whole sexual harassment and expense-account stuff with Hurd blew up. Two directors appointed to investigate the allegations -- Robert Ryan and Lucille Salhany -- were adamant that Hurd should be fired immediately.

But two others -- Joel Hyatt and John Joyce -- were equally adamant that Hurd should stay, or at least stick around until a successor could be identified.

One director told the Times that board relations "became fractious. There were so many hard feelings. It became difficult to conduct business in a civil manner."

Interestingly, all four of the parties reportedly involved in the should-Hurd-stay-or-should-he-go argument are gone from the board, having opted not to seek re-election last March. They were replaced by five other members, including former eBay CEO Meg Whitman, who is being touted in reports this week as a potential replacement for Apotheker.

Whitman is as wrong for the job as Apotheker has proven to be. Her background is running an online auction site, not an enterprise software and services company. She'd be a poor fit and a certain disaster.

Which, of course, makes her irresistible to the tech world's most clueless board of directors.

"The company is coming apart at the seams. ...HP is self-destructing."

Yes, it is. And the shareholder lawsuit filed last week is just the beginning. Investors have a right to be outraged by the HP board's incompetence and flagrant irresponsibility.

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