H-P's Top Lawyer Quits

The spying fiasco claims another scalp.
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Hewlett-Packard (HPQ) - Get Report said its longtime general counsel, Ann Baskins, resigned as company leaders prepared to face Congress over a boardroom spying fiasco.

CEO Mark Hurd and others are due to testify Thursday before the House Energy and Commerce Committee on the company's decision to spy on employees and directors in a bid to clamp down on news leaks. Last week H-P's nonexecutive chairman, Patricia Dunn, resigned as the company released a report on the debacle. Dunn's departure, which had been planned for January, came amid increasing scrutiny of her leadership of the spying probe.

Two other H-P execs who were involved in the spying program have left the company. Some observers had wondered how long Baskins could stay with the company, given the possible legal implications of the probe. H-P hired private investigators who used false pretenses to gain access to personal records. California's attorney general and other regulators are investigating.

"I want to thank Ann for 24 years of outstanding service and devotion to HP," said Hurd. "She began her career here shortly after law school and worked her way up to serve as the company's top lawyer, earning along the way a reputation for hard work and integrity. She has admirably supported our business needs across the globe and will be missed. Stepping down was a very hard decision for her, but by doing so she has put the interests of HP above her own and that is to be commended."