Patricia Dunn
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Patricia Dunn, the former Hewlett-Packard Co. chairwoman who authorized a boardroom surveillance probe that ultimately sullied her remarkable rise from investment bank typist to the corporate upper class, has died after a long bout with cancer. She was 58.

Dunn died Sunday morning at her home in Orinda surrounded by her family, according to her sister, Debbie Lammers. She said Dunn's ovarian cancer had returned. Once one of the most powerful women in corporate America, Dunn saw her career tarnished in 2006 when she was ousted from HP and brought up on criminal charges — which were ultimately dropped — for approving the company's plan to snoop into the private phone records of board members, journalists and HP employees to catch people leaking to the media.

Dunn long maintained that she was a scapegoat. She said she was being unfairly vilified for the tactics of third-party investigators she did not hire or directly control. She emphasized that she didn't know the inner workings of the investigations and that she relied on HP's security and legal teams for assurance that the tactics were legal.

The scandal unfolded as Dunn continued to battle a disease that had haunted her through a sparkling investment banking career and a stormy nine-year stretch on the board of HP, one of the world's largest technology companies.

Dunn had spent time on philanthropic matters in the years since the scandal, Lammers said. Dunn and her husband, Bill Jahnke, endowed a faculty position at the University of California, San Francisco's Department of Surgery named in honor of her mother, who also died of cancer.

Lammers said she wanted people to remember her sister's "incredibly influential rise in her professional life and her courage and valiant battles over the course of her treatments."

"Her example of leadership, courage and poise throughout her professional and personal life was exemplary," Lammers told The Associated Press on Monday.

Dunn's time at HP coincided with some of the most contentious and challenging periods since the Palo Alto-based company was founded in 1939.

Dunn joined HP's board in 1998 and was instrumental in the hiring and firing of CEO Carly Fiorina, whose flamboyant personality and ferocity in securing the $19 billion purchase of Compaq Computer Corp. ultimately helped hasten her ouster amid a sagging stock price and disappointing results from the combined company.

Dunn was the one who announced Fiorina's ouster in February 2005 and named her low-key successor, Mark Hurd, previously CEO of NCR Corp. Hurd himself was ousted last year after an investigation into a sexual harassment claim found inconsistencies in expense reports filed.

Dunn also assumed Fiorina's role as chairwoman at the time. Dunn was forced out in that role in September 2006 in an embarrassing scandal involving spying on the telephone records of board members and journalists to ferret out the source of leaks to the media.

Just a month later, California's attorney general charged Dunn and four others with four felony counts each — conspiracy, fraud, identity theft and illegally using computer data — for their roles in the probe. That came just two days before she started chemotherapy treatments for advanced ovarian cancer.

The criminal charges against Dunn were eventually dropped, as prosecutors said she had little involvement in the actual "pretexting" — the ruse used by investigators to view private telephone records by pretending to be someone else — and because of her ailing health. Charges against the other defendants were also dropped, with a Santa Clara County Superior Court judge calling their conduct "a betrayal of trust and honor" at worst that was not criminal behavior at the time it occurred.

Once an aspiring investigative reporter, Dunn, a graduate of the University of California, Berkeley, found more immediate and lucrative work in the financial world and made her mark in investment banking.

After working briefly as a part-time reporter for a community newspaper in San Francisco, Dunn began her corporate climb by capitalizing on a temporary typist gig that she landed at an investment firm in the 1970s. She was able to turn the two-week typing assignment into full-time work and managed to quickly rise through the ranks by earning a reputation as a hard-edged businesswoman. That reputation eventually helped her earn the promotion to CEO of fund management behemoth Barclays Global Investors in 1995.

Dunn's life had been far from charmed.

Financial difficulties dogged her family throughout her childhood, and her father, a vaudeville actor, died of a heart attack before she was a teen. After the death, the family moved to Marin County, north of San Francisco, and her mother's emotional health deteriorated.

Dunn's mother later died of breast cancer.

It was at the height of Dunn's corporate success when she was diagnosed with cancer herself, forcing her to step down in 2002 from her role as Barclays CEO to fight breast cancer and melanoma.

Two years later, she was diagnosed with ovarian cancer, and in fall 2006, she underwent surgery for a metastasized tumor — three weeks before the public learned of the HP investigation that spawned congressional investigations, criminal probes and forced Dunn's resignation.

As Dunn and others involved in the probe grappled with the fallout, the public was given a rare view of the workings of a board consumed with bitter rivalries and dysfunction.

The probe Dunn authorized ultimately identified renowned physicist and former presidential adviser George Keyworth as the director who spoke anonymously to a technology news website about a confidential board retreat. Some viewed the article as innocuous. Venture capitalist Tom Perkins resigned from the board in protest over the investigators' tactics.

Dunn's family is planning a memorial service in San Francisco.

Dunn is survived by her husband, Jahnke; three adult children, Janai Brengman, Michelle Cox and Michael Jahnke; ten grandchildren; a brother, Paul Dunn, and a sister, Lammers.


Copyright © 2011 The Associated Press
Published by Marin Independent Journal on Dec. 6, 2011.
No memorial events are currently scheduled.
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49 Entries
At least she was brave enough to fight the big corporates even with her health,she can now be at peace.
December 14, 2011
A childhood friend of my wife, Gina. She was a strong corporate figure, and, in my opinion, was demonized by the media. She was always trying to do the "right thing." She will be sorely missed. My best to Bill, Debbie and the rest of the family.

Don Bright
Don Bright
December 13, 2011
May God bless your family at this difficult time. Psalms 55:22.
December 13, 2011
Patricia Dunn was a strong a courageous woman. As you endure the grief that comes with the death of a loved one, I pray that you also feel the love and support of family, friends, neighbors, and most importantly our heavenly father as he sustains you at this difficult time. Psalms 55:22
December 13, 2011
male or female one heck of a person, stacks up with the best of them................
sid sullivan
December 12, 2011
You sure were one fine Chief Executive Officer, Mrs. Dunn.

I was really impressed by your move to the top over at HP.

Best of luck and everlasting happiness in the Next World.

I'll say some prayers for you up there.

Gus McGuire

Gus (Baby Face) McGuire
December 12, 2011
Pattie was an amazing dedicated woman, one I was fortunate to work with at WFIA. Her integrity and strength never wavered. She was an inspiration to many of us, myself included. She will be missed but remembered by all who crossed her path.
Virginia (Gingie) Eggleston
December 11, 2011
44 years of friendship,it goes without saying! I love you and miss you.
Meri Sullivan Welsh
Meredith Welsh
December 11, 2011

You were an awe inspiring business woman and friend for
last 30+ years along with your
sister, Debbie Lammers.. It seems like this was a life cut
short in the 6th inning of a SF Giants game. You and your
mother were wonderful and
giving stars and will be sorely
missed. Our prayers are with
you and Debbie and family..
Anne Donnelly-Belt
December 10, 2011
My condolences to the Dunn family. May the hope of Paradise with the prospect of living forever bring you comfort.
December 10, 2011
An exceptional and inspiring woman; I am honored and privileged to have been mentored and associated with Pattie from the day she hired me in 1983 at Wells Fargo Investment Advisors. She was one of the forerunners in S&P500 Index Fund management and I was fortunate to be part of the adventure. My deepest sympathy to family and friends.
Linda Mansanet
December 9, 2011
Good bye Pattie - thank you for your friendship & support. Your trust in me helped me grow immensely. I miss you very much.
December 9, 2011
I came to meet you in 1990 at Wells Fargo Nikko as the receptionist. You were such an inspiration of intelligence, beauty, and grace. I left Barclays Global Investors in 2000 and to that day and beyond you have always been that beautiful, graceful, and inspiring woman to me. You were never out of touch with the normal everyday worker. You are sorely missed.
shirley huie
December 9, 2011
It has been a privilege to have worked with and known Pattie for 30 years.

We had a lot of good times working together at the old Wells Fargo Investment Advisors.

In 1983 when the whole top half of the organization chart, including her husband, Bill Jahnke, quit Wells Fargo Investment Advisors to form Mellon Capital Management and Vestek Systems, Pattie was the only person left who knew how to do the index fund trading and portfolio management. She demanded and got $25,000 a month, an astronomical salary in 1983.

I last saw her with Bill at the Symphony opening in September, looking thin but with a great smile and in good spirits.

Pattie was a pioneer and an inspiration to work with and will be missed by many.
Jeff Ricker
December 9, 2011
I didn't know her personally, but I read a lot about her and admired her perserverance from afar. Her 60 Minutes interview demonstrated her strength and her determination to tell her side of the story. Too often we hear about the" charmed" life of others. Not for all her money, prestige, or power would I have wanted to walk in her shoes. I hope her story will be told in a book for other women to read and learn from.
Vicki Donlan
December 9, 2011
I am sorry to hear Patricia Dunn has lost her battle with cancer.

Bravo to a brave working woman in the 70's and 80's when women were trying to make a place for themselves in the business world while being held back. She gave a good fight in the battle with HP and her cancer.

My condolences to her family and friends.
Diane Matusevich
December 8, 2011
To the family of Patricia Dunn, my sincere condolences for your great loss. May you find comfort in the promise stated at Psalms 62;7-8.

December 8, 2011
May God comfort her family. For all the troubles she faced in this life, may she have twice as many crowns in her eternal life. We did not know her personally, but we have the highest respect for her and wish that she had known how many people in the world wished her well. Rest in peace.
December 7, 2011
I respect any woman who was able to rise above the hostile working environments (FOR WOMEN) in the 1970's and 80's. My condolences to her family and friends. May she rest in peace after all that struggle.
December 7, 2011
My deepest condolences to the family of Patty and Bill. I have had a brief but fondest memory of spending days with you in Bali, listening to your kind thoughts of the Indonesian people, your warmthness, and especially your love for people. I was very honored to have been involved in the arts pieces of your home.
I wish the strength in your family during this time. Kindest regards, Sinta Maroe, Bali, Indonesia
Sinta Maroe
December 7, 2011
May God bless you and your family in this time of sorrow.
December 7, 2011
Patricia was a woman of rare integrity and courage, a shining star in a desert of mediocrity.
Jeanne Lindsay
December 7, 2011
Go in Peace Patricia. God bless those you left behind.
Sheila Smith
December 6, 2011
May the fond memories of Pattie help you through this loss. She was a mentor and friend to me and I will forever be grateful to have worked with her. She put up a courageous fight -- now her body can rest. I will miss her. My thoughts are with you .
Geri Hom
December 6, 2011
December 6, 2011
All our sentiments to
and her entire family.
As with the Empire of TECH
The many arts of fine Cable&Harness
within a Printed Circuit Board
as weve all been working in the arts
God Bless you RIP Spiritually
M.Victoria&Andrew VZj
December 6, 2011
Wayne Wagner
December 6, 2011
Although I did not personally know Mrs. Dunn, I kept up with her remarkable career as a business lady. My condolences to her family at this time of sorrow. May God have His blessing on each of the family members. RIP, Mrs. Dunn for a job well done here on this earth.
James Millsaps
December 6, 2011
To the family of Patricia Dunn; my condolences for your loss. As you grieve may the hearer of prayer help you to endure this time of sorrow.
December 6, 2011
I pray that you and yours rest upon the merciful and loving arms
of our Father and Creator. May you have peace.
December 6, 2011
May the sympathy of those who care for you and the memories of your loved one comfort you during this time of grief.
December 6, 2011
To the Dunn Family - What an inspiring person Ms. Dunn was, and so brave and strong. As someone from her generation who got started in her career as a great typist to gain access to a better position in the corporate world, it brought back so many memories for me. And as a cancer survivor, I could feel her struggles. She was special and will make a difference up above. Warm Regards, Lynda Watson, Florida.
Lynda Watson
December 6, 2011
My condolences to family. I hope the promise that Almighty God has set in place concerning those asleep in the dust will bring comfort to each of you. Daniel 12:2
Ms Bea
December 6, 2011
May God bless you and your family in this time of sorrow.
Bruno Bienenfeld
December 6, 2011
Pattie, I am thinking of you and praying for your family.

You and your story have made a huge impact on my life. The courage, grace and strength you expressed through some of your most difficult moments have inspired me to keep the faith even when times are dark.

I will never forget the last time I saw you as you gave out good-bye hugs as you left HP - even then, with a smile on your face. May you rest in peace, Pattie and may your family find joy in the happy memories they shared with you...
December 6, 2011
With our deepest Sympathy to the Dunn Family.

John 11:33-44
Danny Alcolu
December 6, 2011
We are thankful for the generosity and leadership that Patricia Dunn gave while serving on the Board of the San Francisco Symphony. I met her at a Symphony event at the time she was battling cancer and work problems. She mentioned none of her struggles; she simply said how healing music was to her. As a volunteer and subscriber to the Symphony, I thank her. We were the same age...
Robin Raborn
December 6, 2011
There are those in life who make an impact on the lives of everyone they touch.
Pattie was one of those people.

The value of such a life cannot be measured.
I was blessed to have known her.

With fond memories...
Jennie Maheras Short
December 6, 2011
Dear Debbie and family, my prayers are with you all. Pattie was an inspiration to all of us and Debbie's pride in her sister and family was always amazing. Love to all. Lynn (Regalia) Rode...
December 6, 2011
"Because of what we do, good things happen." You were a great leader, and we will miss you. God bless.
December 6, 2011
You will be deeply missed. Our prayers go out to your family.
Jerry and Julie Ledson
December 6, 2011
Condolences to Patricia's family and loved ones. May the God of all comfort be with you.
December 6, 2011
I will miss Patricia deeply. I am so thankful that she will be resurrected to perfect health in the paradise earth to come!
December 6, 2011
Grief can be so hard during the holidays, but our special memories help us cope. Remembering you and your loved one this holiday season.
December 6, 2011
Thanks to her for taking on the " big boys" ! What a courageous woman and great role model for all of us women. My thoughts and prayers are with her family. Merry Birdsong Swansboro, N. C.
merry birdsong
December 6, 2011
God rest your soul, be at peace and suffer no more. Deepest sympathy to the family.

Victoria Spina
Houston, Texas
December 6, 2011
Rest in peace. Very courageous. A roll model for women...... God Bless, the Montgomerys
December 6, 2011
A grand lady indeed and so courageous. My prayers and thoughts are with your family at this devastating time. May God bless you all and guide you through.
J Quesenberry
December 6, 2011
God bless you, and R.I.P. Prayers to your family.
Jane Dowling
December 6, 2011