Findings from Hewlett-Packard Research

Being one of the largest and most-established producers of consumer technology in the world, it is no surprise that Hewlett-Packard maintains a dominating presence within northern California’s business, commerce, and and information networks.

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Noteworthy Executive Team Members

Connections, Connections, Connections

Michael J. Holston, executive VP and General Counsel, was also a partner at Morgan Lewis & Bockius LLP, a law firm that staffs Wenseng Pan, Thomas E. Duley, and several other associates and counsel members who don’t seem to be shying away from accepting legal work for major pharmaceutical companies.

Holston worked alongside John H. Hemann at Morgan Lewis, a member of the official Department of Justice Enron Task Force who served as lead trial counsel on the prosecution of Enron’s CFO Andrew Fastow and CEO Kenneth Lay. Hemann also served as an assistant US attorney in San Francisco, where he handled many white-collar crime cases, including a case of fraudulent conduct by executives of McKesson Corporation and Media Vision.

Hemann and Holston both served as attorneys on an interesting courtroom case titled “People of the State of California vs. Hewlett-Packard Company” (read the PDF). While the context from which this document was generated is not quite clear, it is worth noting that the document carries another big legal name: Charles N. Charnas, VP and Deputy General Counsel for HP, who filed a 2006 SEC document reporting the resignation of Thomas J. Perkins from its Board of Directors.

HP’s Board of Director Scandal

Despite being several years old, the Tom Perkins / HP story is worth repeating. On May 18th, 2006, Perkins unexpectedly resigned from the HP board and issued a letter to HP’s directors that quickly wound up in the hands of reporters. In the letter, Perkins states that an alleged information leak was mismanaged by the chair of the board at the time, who had instigated an illegal investigation to discover the origination of the leak. Claiming that his personal and private AT&T phone records were “hacked” during the investigation, Perkins argued that he came to realize that his disagreement was not merely with HP’s chair, but with the larger company as well. He closes the letter: “I consider HP to be an icon of Silicon Valley, and one of the great companies of the world. It now needs, urgently, to correct its course.”

Perkins is a co-founder and Partner at Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, a major Bay Area venture capitalist firm that has achieved staggering profits from investments in Google, Sun, Genentech, Intuit, and Amazon (the firm is also associated with Colin Powell.) Along with HP CEO and President Mark Hurd, Perkins is also on the board of directors for Rupert Murdoch’s NewsCorp empire.

As if Perkins weren’t busy enough, he has also married several times: in what is arguably the most surprising relationship I have profiled thus far for LittleSis, he was even married to romance novelist Danielle Steel.

HP’s Inter-Connections with the Rest of the Bay Area

Finally, A Visualization

Using data visualizer tools at, I constructed a quick visualization to spatially chart some of the inter-connections uncovered during my research:

Click here for a full-size image.