One of the painful truths of business is that once in a while you are right and it doesn’t become obvious until it’s triage time. Such is the case at HP, as its well-publicized acquisition of Autonomy Corp. (2011) has destroyed more shareholder value than a whole battalion of court jesters and Shakespearean fools. How could a board of directors ignore the clear and direct advice of its CFO? Because it had (past tense) a CEO on a mission.
And what does the board say to a CFO like Catherine Lesjak when the dust has settled? “Oh, gee, I guess you were right. Would you mind hanging around for a while and cleaning the whole freaking mess up for us? That would be great.”
Come on, really?
In a short but insightful article in CFO Magazine, there are some useful lessons for all of mergerdom. The Merger Verger offers an annotated copy of the article below: