Hewlett-Packard's long-time general counsel Michael Holston announced his resignation this week. While he "pursues other opportunities," David Healy of Fenwick & West LLP will be filling in on an interim basis.
Things have been touch-and-go for the Silicon Valley company for a while now. In September, the Board of Directors fired CEO Leo Apotheker after just 11 months. He was replaced with ex-eBay CEO and gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman.
Could the two events be related?
They could be, as it's not uncommon for general counsel to butt heads with new executives. But a spokesman for the company has said that Michael Holston and Whitman have a "mutual respect," reports Bloomberg. He's also not sure whether the former general counsel already has another job in mind.
Even if Holston's resignation has nothing to do with Whitman, something is going on at HP. In the last year, the company has lost a number of high profile executives. Those departures include the following:
- Marius Haas (senior vice president of HP Networking)
- Tom Iannotti (vice president of HP Enterprise Services)
- Gary Budzinski (vice president of HP Technology Services)
- Thomas Hogan (executive vice president of enterprise business sales)
- Joe Bottazzi (senior vice president of Technology Services Americas)
- Pete Bocian (chief administrative officer)
- Randy Mott (CIO)
If you want to go beyond the last year, just look at the company's long line of failed CEOs. Carly Fiorina "resigned" in 2005, followed by Pattie Dunn's termination in 2006. And Mark Hurd was fired last year.
Whether or not this executive instability factored into his decision, Michael Holston was probably right to leave.