Update: HP's general counsel quits

Ann Baskins had been with the company 24 years

Another top Hewlett-Packard Co. executive will leave the company, with HP's announcement today that its general counsel, Ann Baskins, has resigned, effective immediately.

It is unclear how closely involved Baskins, who worked for HP for 24 years, was in the internal investigation scandal plaguing HP. The company is being investigated for potentially using illegal methods in its hunt to uncover an internal source leaking information to the press.

In a recent filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, HP notes that Baskins participated in meetings with private investigators where they discussed pretexting, a method of obtaining confidential records under false pretenses. One such discussion took place in a telephone conference on June 15, 2005, in the early phase of the investigations.

In a statement announcing Baskins' resignation, Mark Hurd, HP's chairman and chief executive, commended Baskins for her hard work and said that she has put the interests of HP above her own by stepping down.

In another filing HP made to the SEC on Thursday, the company said that it agreed to pay for expenses Baskins may incur related to lawsuits and investigations and that Baskins had agreed to cooperate with HP in connection with investigations regarding the company.

In an 8-K filing (download PDF) to the SEC, HP reported that under the conditions of Baskins' resignation she will be eligible to exercise options to purchase 465,858 shares of HP's common stock that are vested as of today. Those shares have a value of about $3.6 million based on the closing price of HP's common stock yesterday.

Baskins has until Nov. 22 to exercise the options.

Additional conditions of her resignation allow her to retain control of the $432,768 in her 401K retirement plan, as well as payments from several other HP-provided benefit plans, according to the 8-K filing. Baskins is eligible to receive a lump sum of $199,646 or a monthly payment of $1,075 from an HP retirement plan; a lump sum of $203,296 or a monthly payment of $1,094 from an HP deferred profit sharing plan; and a lump sum of $946,210 from an HP excess benefit plan made up of the nonqualified portion of the HP retirement plan.

She will also be paid in cash for any unused vacation time she has accrued, according to the filing.

HP Chairman Patricia Dunn has already resigned, and other top executives, including a senior counsel and the global security manager, have left the company since the scandal erupted.

Baskins is among many top officials at HP that a U.S. House of Representatives Subcommittee has subpoenaed, requiring them to testify as part of the committee's investigation later today.

Computerworld's Todd R. Weiss contributed to this report.

See more coverage:

  •   HP's Hurd plans to call leak probe 'a rogue investigation'

  •  House panel on HP scandal adds second day of hearings

  •  As HP scandal unfolds, Hurd's power grows

  •  Dunn out immediately as HP chairman; Hurd apologizes for leak scandal

  •  Report: Hurd knew of planned deception campaign

  •  SEC broadens probe of HP scandal

  •  Update: California says it has evidence to charge HP officials

  •  HP: 'No Surprise'

  •  Opinion: A demand for immediate and full disclosure

  •  Reporters' phone records accessed by HP during leak probe

  •  SEC filing shows board infighting, leaks at HP

Blogs:

  •  HP spying, round 4: Hurd heard

  •  Frank Hayes: HP: She really should have known better

  •  Preston Gralla: Was David Ortiz the hacker in HP board scandal?

  •  Joyce Carpenter: HP improves Integrity

  •  IT Blogwatch: HP spy vs. leaker (and 2356 days of Noah)

  •  Martin McKeay: Taking Corporate Spying to the Next Level

Copyright © 2006 IDG Communications, Inc.

  
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