Law firm suspects HP directors misled everyone

Hewlett Packard faces the gavel over ousted CEO and Sapman, Action Apotheker allegedly sacking over 500 employees from the Palm Global Business Unit amid a fog of misleading trickery.

Law firm Hagens Berman quotes Apotheker earlier this year talking up the success of WebOS. “We are all about WebOS,” he said, and “there will be wave after wave of technology coming out to support the WebOS platform.”

Hagens Berman wonders if and when HP began talks behind its own executive iron curtain, questioning the future of the home PC business and the real mileage in WebOS. HP’s surprise announcement to end the production of WebOS prompted the investigations.

Additionally, Hagens Berman suspects that the class action lawsuit, filed by investors who bought HP stock between last November and this August, has lead to a certain amount of scapegoating.

The complaint says Apotheker and CFO Charine Lesjak were both misleading to investors by saying the PC and WebOS segments were key to HP’s business. 

Now, with Whitman replacing Action Man Apotheker as CEO, it appears the head of investor relations Steve Fieler and chief communications officer Bill Wohl might be out the door. In a statement, Hagens Berman’s Reed R. Kathrein, wonders “whether Steve and Bill are being made scapegoats for deliberately misleading internal communication by the executive team”.

Kathrein points out that dumping entire businesses is not the kind of strategy decided on in a day. “We suspect we will learn that the HP executive team was putting on a poker face,” Kathrein continues, “when in reality it knew the WebOS hardware and personal computer businesses were in jeopardy.”

Hagens Berman is encouraging whistleblowers to come forward on the back of SEC legislation which keeps them protected.