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SEC Should Keep Close Eye on HP, Whitman

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Meg Whitman is filthy rich.

Outcomes at Hewlett Packard (HPQ) impact her much less than they do rank-and-file employees and random shareholders.

While I have no doubt Whitman wants to win, it's simply not possible to take her words and invest on them. If she's wrong, what happens to her?

She might -- though this is hardly certain -- get fired. In this scenario, the door barely taps her rear end on the way out. She'll likely receive some sort of "package" from HP as part of her exit, adding to her already vast riches. That's the standard "consequence" for CEOs who fail miserably.

>>Also see: Hewlett Packard Insiders Underwater on Sinking Stock

One look at HP's CEO history or Yahoo!'s (YHOO) makes that clear.

Do not ignore comparisons between HP and Research in Motion (RIMM) . They might end up illustrating a classic case of history repeating itself.

As I explain in the above-linked article, Whitman weaves pretty close to the same story RIM co-CEOs James Balsillie and Mike Lazaridis fumbled through during 2011, particularly with relation to full-year guidance.

And, as these stories come together, where is the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, commonly known as the SEC?

On quarterly conference calls, Meg Whitman can says things like . . .

In terms of our new products, many are . . . being introduced now, so you'll see them really start to hit in Q3 and Q4 . . . So you obviously do see a second half that's going to be gaining strength.

Right. Obviously.

And this . . .

. . . we understand what your concern is, but we feel good about our $3.40 to $3.60 estimate [for fiscal year 2013 earnings].

And this from the CFO Catherine Lesjak . . .

It really all comes down to our view of the second half. So we definitely see that the second half per normal seasonal trends is higher than the first half, and we're seeing that is skewed even more as a result of the restructuring programs that we've talked about and the fact that ... we believe Autonomy will ramp more in the second half ... it's really about all of our new products that are coming in, and the fact of the matter is that they don't really get significant traction until the second half of the year . . . So all of these are really contributing to a very different profile in the year from a revenue and profit perspective [emphasis added].

Note Lesjak's use of the word "fact."

How can an executive of a company in HP's position have the nerve -- or be dumb enough (but I give Lesjak more credit than that) -- to attach "fact" to anything having to do with Autonomy or HP's let's hope and pray Windows 8 does something . . . anything second-half product line?

HP's guidance hinges on success at 2012's biggest alleged fraud and Microsoft (MSFT).

Lesjak can feign objective truths, and Whitman can "feel comfortable" and "good" about full-year guidance, because neither has much on the line other than their already soiled reputations as executives of yesteryear.

The SEC covers their butts just like it, and Canadian regulators, did RIM's with this type of boilerplate . . .

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