OLD Media Moves

Why I like the Houston biz columnist

September 10, 2006

Houston Chronicle business columnist Loren Steffy has a way of writing about topics in the news that makes them attractive to all kinds of readers, not just people interested in business news.

Loren SteffyHis Sunday column is a perfect example. Steffy is writing about the Hewlett-Packard scandal of them obtaining phone records of board members and journalists to determine a leak.

Only he’s not writing about it in a form you’d expect. Instead, Steffy writes about it as if he were a 1950s detective in a movie, and H-P chairman Patrica Dunn was coming to him for help. Think of Mickey Spillane in the 21st century.

Steffy wrote, “She said she worked in the Valley. That’s Silicon Valley. The Digital Ditch. She’s what’s known as a nonexecutive chairman. She runs the board of a company called Hewlett-Packard. They make computers and printers and gadgets for the kind of guys who wait for the bus in Brooks Bros. suits with the stock pages tucked under one arm.

“A while back, HP was a mess. Its stock was tanking, it was losing market share, its profits were slumping.

“The board decided to give the chief executive, someone named Fiorina, the old heave-ho. She wouldn’t go quietly, and things got ugly. That’s when the leaks started.

“Someone was telling the Wall Street Journal everything that happened in the board meetings. Even after the board gave Fiorina the boot, the leaks continued.

“That’s where she came in. Her name was Dunn, and it turns out she probably is. But I’m getting ahead of myself.”

Read more here for the conclusion of this dime-store novel.

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