Meg Whitman, the former manager of Hewlett-Packard, stated she was happy to throw predecessor Leo Apotheker”under the bus” at a moment of anger within the botched purchase of British software firm Autonomy, London’s High Court heard on Wednesday.
Lynch has denied the allegations and said the collapse of this acquisition was down to HP’s mismanagement and neglect of the business through Whitman’s tenure.
Apotheker, the architect of the deal, was fired by HP’s board just weeks after it had been announced as a member of a huge shake-up that also included the possible sale of its PC company.
Whitman, a non-executive manager on the board, said she had to be persuaded to take the job of CEO.
She said in an email dated Dec 14 2012 to HP’s chief communications officer Henry Gomez:”Happy to throw Leo below the bus at a tit for tat” after Apotheker had stated the HP board should share the blame for the failed deal.
Inspired by Lynch’s counsel Robert Miles if she was just protecting herself,” Whitman said which was”wasn’t the situation”. “It was a moment of disappointment and anger,” she said. “I shouldn’t have stated it.”
Miles said that was precisely what she did Lynch, a charge she denied.
A spokesman for Apotheker said:”HP’s acquisition of Autonomy had the complete support of the HP board of supervisors, who endorsed it unanimously on the basis of thorough due diligence.
“The fact that every member of the board stood behind the trade at the time it had been declared is apparent from the proceedings in the high court.”
In sometimes testy exchanges, Miles questioned Whitman about the synergy value HP believed it could generate by combining Autonomy’s technology with its present assets – a few that in substantial part warranted the bargain premium – and on if Autonomy fitted into her own strategy for HP.
Whitman, a tech pioneer who climbed eBay to a $8 billion revenue company, said Apotheker and CTO Shane Robison led the push to purchase Autonomy however, the board had approved itand they later”felt dreadful” about it.
The deal was announced on 18 August 2011 as a part of a massive shift that comprised departing its pill company, exploring the sale of its PC device and disappointing quarterly results.
“There was a reasonable amount of investor push back after Autonomy was declared,” Whitman explained.
She informed the court that her priority was stabilising the core industry – which had been at a more precarious condition than she had feared – and – reassuring customers and investors that the company wasn’t likely to ditch hardware completely.
But she refused that Autonomy was failed. “We really wanted Autonomy to be successful,” she explained. “We were dedicated to Autonomy however we needed to stabilise the core assets.”
She said Lynch, who reported directly to her, obtained more of her attention in fixing problems than almost anybody.
Nonetheless, in her witness statement, she said Lynch had failed to tell her that Autonomy was on track to miss quarterly earnings targets and also his management style hampered rather than helped Autonomy’s integration.
She said she wasn’t surprised Lynch recalled a telephone call in which she informed him and other Autonomy leaders who”the fun is over and it is time for Autonomy to grow up”.
Her purpose, she said in the announcement, was Autonomy needed to be managed as part of a much larger organisation and not as a start-up.
Hewlett Packard Company at 2015 split into two separate publicly traded firms – HP Inc. and Hewlett Packard Enterprise.