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Apotheker blames HP board (and Whitman) for Autonomy debacle

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Former Hewlett-Packard Co. (NYSE: HPQ) CEO Léo Apotheker has shouldered a lot of blame for his tumultuous tenure in the top job, from an aborted plan without a plan to sell off the PC business to a sudden shift to software. But when it comes to the (now even more) controversial US$10.3 billion acquisition of Autonomy Plc which he oversaw, he’s now reminding people he had help.

Autonomy was the flagship deal of Apotheker’s term as CEO, meant to signal a shift by HP away from its hardware roots and into the more lucrative worlds of software, the cloud and big data. The deal was also controversial for the high valuation awarded a company few have heard of.

While Apotheker was unapologetic at the time, the deal has become even more controversial with recent claims by HP that it was misled to the value of the company during the acquisition. HP has written off over $8 billion related to the deal, and has indicated it will pursue criminal and civil remedies relating to allegations of improprieties.

RELATED STORY: HP takes US$8.8 billion hit; cries foul on Autonomy deal

Although she was on HP’s board at the time, current CEO Meg Whitman has tried to distance herself from the deal, noting that the CEO that led the deal – Apotheker – is no longer with the company. However, in a statement to Bloomberg, Apotheker is shifting the blame on back:

“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. 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 HP’s market presence in enterprise data.”

CLICK HERE TO READ: HP Former CEO Says Board Shares Blame for Autonomy Deal