HP’s Code Problem
Posted by Jon Littman on September 10, 2010 in Innovation, Publishing, Storytelling

TIMING IS EVERYTHING  in telling a story. Tuesday Hewlett Packard sued it’s former CEO Mark Hurd for taking a job with Oracle. Thursday it revealed that a Justice Department and SEC probe into multi-million dollar bribes HP allegedly paid in Russia is wider than previously reported. What makes this even more interesting is that today’s articles in the Wall Street Journal and Cnet suggest the company was sitting on this damning news. The Journal reported: “Russian investigators raided H-P’s offices in Moscow in April…H-P had refrained from reporting the bribery process until Thursday.”

What’s the moral of the story? HP is legendary for it’s strict, moral and ethical rules, known as the H-P Code. Many think that’s why it fired Mark Hurd in the first place. But if the Journal is correct, the company delayed the news of a widening bribery probe. Has the HP Code served the company well? I’d argue it’s time to retire it.

Actions speak louder than words. Here’s the story in Cnet: