Former H-P Chairman Patricia Dunn Has Died
William Jahnke, Ms. Dunn's husband for 30 years, said she died Sunday from ovarian cancer at her home in Orinda, Calif. In an obituary that he prepared, Mr. Jahnke described his late wife as a "tenacious" cancer patient, outliving the three-year life expectancy for her type of ovarian cancer by nearly five years.
Ms. Dunn is perhaps best remembered for her stint as a director at Hewlett-Packard, the big computer maker, whose board she joined in 1998.
She was named its outside chairman in 2005, and during her watch, the company hired private investigators to identify the source of board-level leaks to the media. The investigators used tactics such as prying into the phone records of board members and some reporters.
Ms. Dunn resigned from H-P's board in September 2006 after details of the investigation became public. She said she didn't know about the spying techniques used by investigators. The following year, a California state court dropped four felony charges against her that had grown out of the scandal.
H-P "later acknowledged she did not authorize, direct or conduct the investigation,'' Mr. Jahnke's obituary said. "She was asked to resign from the board because her continued presence had become a distraction.''
As chairman of H-P, Ms. Dunn also helped lead a CEO search that recruited Mark Hurd from NCR Corp. to replace Carly Fiorina, his ousted predecessor. Mr. Hurd was forced out last year in an incident that brought further criticism to H-P's board.
An H-P spokesman said: "Pattie Dunn worked tirelessly for the good of HP. We are saddened by the news of her passing, and our thoughts go out to her family on their loss."
Ms. Dunn spent her childhood in Las Vegas, where her father was a casino entertainment director and her mother was a retired showgirl. She earned a journalism degree from University of California at Berkeley on a scholarship. After graduating, she won a temporary secretarial job at Wells Fargo & Co., the big San Francisco bank.
She eventually advanced to become chief executive of Barclays Global Investors. As head of the large institutional money manager, she succeeded in the orderly world of index funds, which aim to control risk and take the guesswork out of investing. "She built a phenomenal team at Barclays Global Investors,'' recalled Andrea Redmond, a recruiter who helped H-P find her for its board. "She never lost her cool.''
After brushes with breast cancer and melanoma, Ms. Dunn was diagnosed with Stage IV ovarian cancer in January 2004. Intense chemotherapy, which lasted through August 2005, appeared to have beaten back the disease, but she later had surgery to remove cancer that had spread to her liver.
Besides her husband, a former CEO of Wells Fargo Investment Advisers, Ms. Dunn is survived by two daughters, 10 grandchildren, a brother and a sister.—Ben Worthen contributed to this article.