EX-HEWLETT PACKARD DIRECTOR TOM PERKINS SAYS HE REGRETS RESIGNING FROM THE BOARD -- "60 MINUTES"
Tycoon Also Says He is Embarrassed by the Cost of His Mega Yacht
Tom Perkins now regrets resigning from the Hewlett Packard board of directors last year, when he stormed out of a heated meeting over what later became the company's infamous spying scandal. The famous venture capitalist tells this to Lesley Stahl in a 60 MINUTES profile to be broadcast Sunday, Nov. 4 (7:00-8:00 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network.
"I miss being on the H-P board. Maybe I made a mistake resigning as I did," Perkins tells Stahl. "I regret it."
Referring to the meeting at which he resigned in a huff, Perkins says, "I was angry. There's no question. It was 90 minutes of very intense debate. I would say I was emotional more than angry, although that's maybe the same thing."
Perkins' anger at that meeting was directed at Pattie Dunn, H-P's then-chairman, who lost her job shortly thereafter. She has publicly accused Perkins of using his wealth and influence to orchestrate her downfall. Carly Fiorina, H-P's former CEO, was fired a year earlier and said publicly that Perkins played a role in her demise, too.
He denies involvement in Fiorina's firing but acknowledges he was engaged in a battle of wills with Dunn and did use his clout in an effort to force her out as chairman. When asked by Stahl if his actions were prompted by an inability to accept women in charge, he says, "I also realize I am going to be accused of 'He hates women and he fires them or he can't stand them,'" he tells Stahl. "I just don't think that's true at all....Up until Carly, all those few that I've had to fire have been men."
Stahl also asks whether Perkins hates Dunn, pointing out that a source told her that he once said of Dunn, "I can't stand to breathe the same air she does." Perkins says he doesn't recall saying that, and his problem with Dunn was over business. "I don't hate her. I disagreed profoundly with the direction she was pulling Hewlett Packard in," Perkins says.
Stahl's profile of Perkins includes a tour of his yacht, which is nearly the length of a football field, making it the world's largest privately owned sailboat. The investor, whose firm seeded highly successful companies including AOL, Amazon, Netscape and Google, would not tell Stahl what he paid for the mega-yacht he named "The Maltese Falcon." The price is believed to be in the neighborhood of $150 million.
"I am embarrassed by [the price]," he tells Stahl. "There's the homeless and charity and there are lots of things you could do with that money that would improve the world, right? So you know, 'How selfish is this guy?'...is the criticism. So the answer is pretty selfish, but I am not going to put a number on it."