HP Taps Former Top Accountant, Jim Murrin, To Head M&A

Business Insider

In January, HP handed 23-year HP veteran Jim Murrin a big job, Business Insider has learned from an internal email (full text below).

The move was not announced publicly. (Murrin hasn't even updated his LinkedIn profile.)

But HP sent us an email confirming his new job.

This new role is interesting because Murrin was HP's controller, the top accountant, when HP bought Autonomy in 2011 for $11 billion, and for about six months after the Autonomy deal closed. That deal did not end well.

Murrin will now lead the corporate development unit, overseeing mergers and acquisitions. Plus he was given a brand new task: to help HP's board understand the company's financials, particularly of any new acquisition target.

Murrin replaced Andy Johnson, who was the top finance guy responsible for M&A when HP bought Autonomy. Johnson is currently on a leave of absence.

To recap: HP bought Autonomy in 2011 for $11 billion. Autonomy makes "big data" software. It was former HP CEO Leo Apotheker's signature deal. Apotheker was fired in September, 2011, before HP even closed the purchase. In November, HP announced that it was writing off $8.8 billion from Autonomy and said it discovered $5 billion worth of "improper accounting" on Autonomy's books. Autonomy execs refute HP's accusations.

Automy's problems have triggered a lot of drama within HP and at least 10 shareholder lawsuits.

Murrin was HP's controller from 2007 to April, 2012. In May he moved to a job as a senior vice president of HP ES, which lasted until his new appointment at the beginning of this year.

Murrin is named in one of those lawsuits from the Autonomy fallout, accused of $3.5 million-worth of insider trading for stock sold months before HP disclosed Autonomy's problems. To be fair, this lawsuit also names CEO Meg Whitman, former CEO Leo Apotheker and CFO Cathy Lesjak. Shareholder lawsuits tend to be scatter-shot affairs that make wide ranging accusations in hopes that one of them will pay off.

We also know that at least one of the questioned trades was prescheduled — and therefore not likely to be against the law.

By some reports, HP's accountants were trying to be the good guys, too. Lesjak, Murrin's boss, reportedly tried to stop the Autonomy deal, telling the board she thought HP was paying too much.

So in one way, with this promotion, HP appears to be saying that it won't be bullied by frivolous shareholder lawsuits when choosing its leaders.

Here's the full-text of the January email sent out to all HP employees announcing Murrin's promotion by HP's CFO Lesjak:

Today I am pleased to announce that Jim Murrin is re-joining my finance leadership team as Senior Vice President of Corporate Financial Analytics and Corporate Development.

Andy Johnson, who has been with the Corporate Development function for seven years and leading it for nearly two years, has taken a leave of absence to focus on some important personal matters. He has my full support to take this leave and upon his return, Andy will be reviewing new roles outside Corporate Development to broaden his HP experience. Jim will assume leadership for Corporate Development, which oversees Mergers and Acquisitions, integration and divestitures for HP and will immediately begin a transition with JR Ahn, who has been the acting leader over the past few weeks. I would like thank JR very much for stepping up in the interim.

In addition to leading Corporate Development, Jim will establish and lead a new Corporate Finance capability, the Corporate Financial Analytics function. This new Finance team will be accountable for developing the financial content and perspective needed to assist the Executive leadership team and the Board in assessing company performance, establishing short and long term plans, and in driving decisions on investment choices and capital allocation.

Over the 23 years that Jim has been at HP, he has held a variety of senior leadership positions including Corporate Controller, and several Finance business group CFO roles. Most recently, Jim has been leading the Select Accounts Group within Enterprise Services, where he has been managing a select list of low performing accounts, driving them to a achieve a higher level of operational performance and profitability.

It is a pleasure to have Jim back. Please join me in welcoming him to this new and critical role.



More From Business Insider

Rates

View Comments (0)