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The Securities and Exchange Commission chastised Hewlett-Packard Wednesday for failing to tell investors why board member Thomas Perkins abruptly resigned in May 2006.

As part of a settlement order, the SEC criticized board members for deciding — based on advice from HP’s then-General Counsel Ann Baskins and longtime outside counsel Larry Sonsini — that they didn’t need to say why Perkins quit “because he merely had a disagreement with the company’s chairman.” In reality, Perkins left in anger when the full board was told that director George Keyworth had leaked company information to a reporter and then was asked to resign.

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