Video: HP considered spying on newsrooms

updated 9/21/2006 10:28:36 AM ET 2006-09-21T14:28:36

Hewlett Packard Inc.’s beleaguered Chairwoman Patricia Dunn was in decidedly friendly territory Wednesday night as she made her first public appearance since landing at the center of a corporate investigation gone awry.

Dunn was inducted into the Hall of Fame of the Bay Area Council, a politically influential business group.

“All I will say about the maelstrom is that I look forward eagerly, in the near future, to setting the record straight and going back to leading my life as discretely as possible,” Dunn said during her acceptance speech. “And in the meantime, it wouldn’t hurt if the Pope continued to make controversial comments to grab the attention of the press.”

“I am fully alive to the irony of being inducted into the Bay Area Council Hall of Fame at this time,” she added.

Also ironic was the fact that Bill Keller, executive editor of the New York Times — one of the media outlets HP investigators spied on with possibly illegal means — was on hand to give a speech during the council’s annual dinner and induction ceremony at San Francisco’s Westin St. Francis Hotel.

Dunn also said she had some lighthearted advice from her recent travails, which is “to keep your name from being bandied about in the press with the suffix ’gate’ attached to it.”

Dunn was inducted into the Hall of Fame along with George Keller, the retired chairman and chief executive of Chevron Corp.

Silicon Valley power broker and HP’s top outside counsel Larry Sonsini, who advised the board during the company investigation that’s now under fire, was inducted last year.

Past inductees and other Bay Area Council members voted Dunn into the Hall of Fame in March. The inductees are honored as much for their charity work as their business acumen, said council spokesman John Grubb, who noted that Dunn volunteers time and gives money to a San Francisco homeless program.

“There is more to Patricia Dunn than the past two weeks,” Grubb said. “You have a lifetime of work and because she has taken the fall shouldn’t overshadow that. The business community has risen up in her support.”

Dunn didn’t talk to reporters, who were confined to the back of the dining room and barred from approaching her.

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