With the slowing of the U.S. tech economy the sharks have come out. The financial sharks who destroy value, grabbing all for themselves (and their henchmen within corporations) are now after the U.S. tech sector.
If it can happen to Hewlett-Packard, it can happen to anyone.
When Mark Hurd was named CEO last year, I thought he had the political and operations savvy to set a course and make things work. But apparently he was just another "Big Iron" executive — just like the men who led our other industries into the toilet over the last 30 years.
Proof comes in his complicity with board chair Patricia Dunn in a campaign of spying on supposedly independent directors, all to learn who might have blabbed about a planning strategy in Indian Wells last January. The story which resulted seemed mostly favorable, although the strategy it outlined was very, well, me-too. Buy a bunch of infrastructure software outfits (despite the move of the industry to open source) and bring out more printers?
Still, this nonsense was so hush-hush that Dunn launched a jihad against her own board, hiring a data broker and a private investigator to comb through the directors’ private phone records in search of the leaker. Director Tom Perkins (as in Kleiner-Perkins) publicly resigned in protest, and 20-year board member George Keyworth has essentially been fired, charged with being the leaker.
The way is now clear for Dunn and Hurd to appoint cronies and
yes-men of their choice to these board seats, which would allow them to
engage in all sorts of self-serving financial manipulation. This is how
crooks have been gobbling up America’s best companies from the inside
for over 30 years, but I always thought tech moved to quickly for it to
Apparently, not any more. Thanks to government policies that have
hobbled U.S. technology and allowed Asian rivals to thrive, our great
tech names are now nothing more than steel companies. Steal companies,
Oh, they will make happy talk about "maximizing shareholder value," but
what they will really be doing is stripping the great company’s bones
until there is nothing left of it but a Chapter 11 husk. I’ll be
surprised if it takes three years. And if voters are wise over the next
several years, Patricia Dunn will end her business career, like Kozlowski, behind bars.