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Fiorina tells '60 Minutes' she's 'shocked'

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SAN FRANCISCO -- Hewlett-Packard's former CEO is "shocked" by the company's boardroom snooping scandal -- even though she says the board was problematic during her time at the computer giant.

Carly Fiorina, who ran HP from 1999 to early 2005, tells 60 Minutes that she is stunned by "the depth and range of some of the (spying tactics HP used) ... and shocked to hear that I might have been the subject of them."

The interview, which airs Sunday, is tied to next week's release of Fiorina's book, Tough Choices. The New York Times was able to buy a copy in advance and published the excerpts cited here.

After Fiorina's ouster, detectives were hired by HP to find out which board member was leaking information to the press. They used trickery to obtain the private phone records of journalists, board members and employees.

That trickery has now gotten HP in trouble because it may be against the law. California's attorney general is seeking indictments against Dunn, HP lawyer Kevin Hunsaker and three others involved in the scandal. Dunn and Hunsaker appeared in court Thursday to set arraignment dates.

But Fiorina says the problems began long before the current scandal. "Some board members' behavior was amateurish and immature," Fiorina writes. "Some didn't do their homework. Some had fixed opinions on certain topics and no opinions at all on others."

Fiorina describes clashes with board members, including Patricia Dunn, Thomas Perkins and Richard Hackborn. She describes several clashes with George Keyworth, a science adviser to President Reagan.

Keyworth proposed far-flung mergers that Fiorina considered irrational then got upset when she didn't agree, she writes. Fiorina adds that she suspected Keyworth of leaking confidential information to the press in early 2005.

Keyworth has since admitted to leaking information in 2006 and resigned.

Keyworth's lawyer, Reginald Brown, says that Keyworth was not the source of the early leaks, and Fiorina and others at HP have unfairly targeted him. "The witch hunt has got to stop," he says.

Fiorina says she deserves some credit for the company's current success. Her successor, Mark Hurd, is usually praised for the company's turnaround.

University of Southern California business professor Warren Bennis says all boards suffer from personality conflicts, but HP's are particularly deep and long-lasting. The company needs to bring in board members who are current or former CEOs of other companies, he says. Former Intel CEO Andy Grove would be a good candidate, he says.

The company will have to "rethink the whole board" -- turning over many seats -- to heal itself, says governance professor Charles Elson at the University of Delaware.

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© Copyright 2006 USA TODAY, a division of Gannett Co. Inc.

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