Leo Apotheker said in an emailed statement that Hewlett-Packard Co.s board, led by Chairman Ray Lane, should also be criticized for what turned out to be a costly decision.
No single CEO is ever able to make a decision on a major acquisition in isolation, particularly at a company as large as HP and certainly not without the full support of the chairman of the board, Apotheker said. The HP board, led by its chairman, met many times to review the acquisition and unanimously supported the deal, as well as the underlying strategic objective to bolster HPs market presence in enterprise data.
The statement by Apotheker, who was ousted by the board in September 2011 after less than a year on the job, is an attempt to draw attention to others involved when HP agreed to buy Autonomy for $10.3 billion last year. The Palo Alto, California-based computer maker took the huge writedown on the deal last month. More than $5 billion of the charge was due to serious accounting improprieties at Autonomy, HP said.
Hewlett-Packard spokesman Michael Thacker declined to comment.
Current CEO Meg Whitman, who was on the board when the Autonomy deal was approved, has tried to distance herself and other members from the decision.
The CEO at the time and the head of strategy who led this deal are both gone Leo Apotheker and Shane Robison, Whitman said on a Nov. 20 conference call. Robison was the former chief technology officer and head of mergers and acquisitions.
HP said that Autonomy booked hardware sales to appear as more profitable software, and used transactions with resellers of its software to accelerate revenue recognition or fabricate sales. The revelations are the latest blow for leadership at a company thats suffered through years of botched deals, management tumult and strategic missteps.
HPs stock has plunged 69 percent since it ousted CEO Mark Hurd in August 2010.
Apotheker said the company is still suffering from problems he tried to right by expanding into software and seeking to spin off its personal computer business.
Looking back on my time at HP, I still believe the strategic vision that we tried to implement was sound, he said.
HP is one of the Treasure Valleys largest employers, with a campus in Boise that employs an estimated 3,700 people.