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TheStreet Open House

Autonomy's Blood on Whitman's Hands Too

Stocks in this article: HPQ

Where was the board? Where was Meg Whitman?

Of course, today, we're hearing them cast blame on Autonomy's auditors -- Deloitte -- and people like Mike Lynch. We're also hearing them complain about their own investment bankers and lawyers who, no doubt, deserve blame. Yet, HP's board -- which is clearly still the most dysfunctional board in corporate America -- is again at the heart of a major self-inflicted blunder.

Meg Whitman deserves tough questions. So does Chair Ray Lane. So does Marc Andreessen and the rest of the HP board.

The last time the HP board came under attack was when they fired Apotheker and hired Whitman. At that time, Ray Lane vociferously complained to the business press that it was unfair to paint the current HP board as the same terrible board that had previously made bad decisions.

Yet, there were a number of carry-over directors then and still are now. And even the so-called new directors, like Meg, have blood on their hands from this Autonomy mess.

This board needs a full housecleaning once and for all after this latest disaster.

At the time of publication, the author held no positions in any of the companies mentioned.

This article is commentary by an independent contributor, separate from TheStreet's regular news coverage.

Eric Jackson is founder and Managing Member of Ironfire Capital and the general partner and investment manager of Ironfire Capital US Fund LP and Ironfire Capital International Fund, Ltd. In January 2007, Jackson started the world's first Internet-based campaign to increase shareholder value at Yahoo!, leading to a change in CEOs in 2007. He also spoke out in favor of Yahoo!'s accepting Microsoft's buyout offer in 2008. Global Proxy Watch named Jackson as one of its 10 "Stars" who positively influenced international corporate governance and shareowner value in 2007.

Prior to founding Ironfire Capital, Jackson was President and CEO of Jackson Leadership Systems, Inc., a leadership, strategy, and governance consulting firm. He completed his Ph.D. in the Management Department at the Columbia University Graduate School of Business in New York, with a specialization in Strategic Management and Corporate Governance, and holds a B.A. from McGill University.

He was previously Vice President of Strategy and Business Development at VoiceGenie Technologies, a software firm now owned by Alcatel-Lucent. In 2004, Jackson founded the Young Patrons' Circle at the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto, which is now the second-largest social and philanthropic group of its kind in North America, raising $500,000 annually for the museum. You can follow Jackson on Twitter at www.twitter.com/ericjackson or @ericjackson.

You can contact Eric by emailing him at eric.jackson@thestreet.com.

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