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IBM The Almighty Buck The Courts News

Arrested IBM Exec Goes MIA On the Web 185

theodp writes "Among those charged in the largest hedge-fund insider trading case in US history was IBM Sr. VP Robert W. Moffat, the heir apparent to IBM CEO Sam Palmisano and the guy behind Big Blue's 'workforce rebalancing' and the sale of IBM's PC unit to Lenovo. IBM's not talking about the incident, but it's interesting that Moffat's bio is MIA at ('Biography you tried to access does not exist.'), and his Smarter Planet video can no longer be found ('This video has been removed by the user.') at IBM's YouTube Channel. Do you need approval from the Feds before tidying up after someone who's under investigation? BTW, if stories and comments appearing in the Times Herald-Record and Poughkeepsie Journal are any indication, Moffat may want to avoid a local jury trial. 'I have talked to a few IBMers today, and there seems to be a lot of cheering in the halls of IBM over his arrest,' said Lee Conrad of Alliance@IBM."
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Arrested IBM Exec Goes MIA On the Web

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  • by Shadow Wrought ( 586631 ) * <> on Saturday October 17, 2009 @02:43PM (#29779027) Homepage Journal
    But taking things down from the internet, tidying up as it were, doesn't sound the least bit questionable. Now if they remove the video, bio, and all his other stuff from their files and destroy it, then there might be a problem.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by HiThere ( 15173 )

      Yeah. There's nothing against cleaning up your image, only against destroying the evidence. Or something that could be construed as evidence. You can generally even supply it to the court under seal, if you don't want your neighbors to know.

      (Well, that's civil law. Criminal law might be different. But I doubt it. If you're supplying the evidence rather than having it seized, I think you generally get a lot of control over how widely it's shown.)

  • Bernie Madoff (Score:5, Interesting)

    by br00tus ( 528477 ) on Saturday October 17, 2009 @02:46PM (#29779051)
    Before Madoff was arrested, a Google search for his name pointed to many pages at Yeshiva University, which he gave a lot of money to. If you clicked on the Google cache, there were glowing profiles about him. If you clicked on the actual pages, his name had been pulled out of all those pages almost as soon as he was arrested, because I was Googling all of this the day after he was arrested. It's still all probably on []
  • RIP IBM Thinkpad... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by brxndxn ( 461473 ) on Saturday October 17, 2009 @02:53PM (#29779099)

    IBM Thinkpad was by far the best laptop line.. Now, it's basically just another piece of crap laptop. Moffat deserves jail time just for this.. "Crimes against quality."

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by shashark ( 836922 )
      I'd say with Vista on it, evey 'piece of laptop' out there is crap. If only you could install ubuntu on it....oh wait.
  • I bet its a simple matter of removing evidence from public view during an active investigation, and it still exists for when its all hauled into court.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday October 17, 2009 @03:00PM (#29779153)

    I just want to testify to the anger towards IBM in the Hudson Valley. IBM has moved from being a socially responsible organization towards being a profit driven company. During the process a lot of people have gotten hurt. People who invested their lives working for IBM lost their pensions. They went from being a massive economic presence and benefactor to being a fading sun. If this guy was one of the reasons for the move towards a new cutthroat IBM then good riddance.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Tablizer ( 95088 )

      IBM has moved from being a socially responsible organization towards being a profit driven company.

      Maybe if you ignore the monopoly thing a few decades ago. What has gone from companies like IBM and HP is job security. They are now process and project driven instead of technology driven, so when a product goes, so do the people.

      US's comparative advantage is change, not technology per se. Any technology that starts to become a commodity is shipped overseas, and the US companies have to move on to emerging,

      • by coolgeek ( 140561 ) on Saturday October 17, 2009 @03:52PM (#29779473) Homepage

        If Watson were still here, the people would be retrained into the next phase/project/product. It would cost money. Having people with such a diverse skill set would be a huge boon to innovation. Watson would see that end game and hold out for it.

        People used to know, if you got hired at IBM, you were set for life. This is how Watson attracted the best of the best. Their failure to keep their eye on the ball is a primary contributor to their current position as an irrelevant has-been.

        My friend's dad was a typewriter repairman for IBM most of his life. He had MS. When the Selectrics started disappearing in the mid-80's and as the MS started to impair him, they retrained him to work on a bench, repairing PCs. When his MS progressed to the point that the PC repair was too much for him, they gave him an office, and his one responsibility was to file a report on a monthly basis. He was not required to come to work every day. Still received full pay and benefits until he could no longer show up once a month, after he took a fall resulting in injury. He was able to leave with his pension and full benefits.

        IBM was more than a corporation, it was an institution. It is extremely sad that this institution no longer exists.

        • That whole economy no longer exists.

          IBM was changed by the marketplace it competed in. The suits just bullshitted there way along, same as always.

          I wouldn't go so far as to call IBM an irrelevant has-been. Though they once owned a small industry, they now compete profitably in many large ones.

        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by 787style ( 816008 )
          This is nothing but corporate socialism. Why is this better than the government stepping in and providing health care and retirement? People can't expect their corporation to be responsible for individuals who can no longer contribute to the bottom line. It is inconceivable to think you can compete when you product and service is easily reproducible by another company which isn't burdened by this "gift" to workers. I feel for his plight, however a disservice was given to shareholders by leaving this empl
          • This is nothing but corporate socialism. Why is this better than the government stepping in and providing health care and retirement?

            Precisely because it's not the government stepping in to provide it. Or the tender mercies of the US medical insurance companies for that matter.

            He likely could have gone on long-term disability until finally retiring. At least giving him a token job meant he was still contributing something. You think what he got was entitlement? Just imagine if he'd been in a union shop.

            You know, I agree with you on one level, but it annoys me whenever shareholders are invoked like gods that must be appeased at all costs.

          • This is nothing but corporate socialism. Why is this better than the government stepping in and providing health care and retirement?

            Let me put it another way: why is this worse?

            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              by 787style ( 816008 )
              Because now its selective as to who gets the care. Only highly skilled individuals working for a select number of corporations reap the benefit.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by hobohro ( 968930 )
      I just read his BIO and all the divisions he has been head of no longer exist.............Thank you GREED!
  • by blind biker ( 1066130 ) on Saturday October 17, 2009 @03:03PM (#29779169) Journal

    Anytime such grandiose outsourcing and/or workforce cutting schemes are created, you can suspect that a psychopathic suit just got an idea how to look busy and useful.

    • Speaking of such.... (Score:5, Interesting)

      by NoYob ( 1630681 ) on Saturday October 17, 2009 @03:39PM (#29779397)
      From one of TFA:

      Cost is part of the calculation, Mr. Moffat noted, but typically not the most important consideration. "People who say this is simply labor arbitrage don't get it," he said. "It's mostly about skills."

      You know, I keep hearing that, but I have yet to see any proof. And if you walk into any American CS program, you'll see plenty of American students as well as foreign ones. What I'm saying is that there are plenty of qualified US students coming out of US universities and there are plenty of qualified US citizens to do any IT job. If you find that not to be your experience, I'd like to point out a few issues your organization may have:

      1. Your HR department may be screening out folks you want.
      2. Many times, your job reqs get changed by HR and they publish something completely different from what you're looking for.
      3. You are demanding too much, and if that's the case, you still won't get it overseas - unless, they're lying about their skills.
      4. You are located somewhere that no one really wants to live. Has your local population been trending down: like in the rust belt areas?

      In other words, I am very skeptical of anyone who says they can't get qualified people - especially in this economy.

      • by thetoadwarrior ( 1268702 ) on Saturday October 17, 2009 @05:39PM (#29780113) Homepage
        It's never about skills. I have worked for companies that do off-shoring. They're no better. They're the same. Some are good but some aren't. But the off-shore team was much bigger because you can get developers for less than minimum wage in this country and amazingly companies can live with loads of incompetence when labour is dirt cheap.

        It's not just about wages, it's also about labour laws and not having to give benefits like pensions. They would probably even pay uk wages to these people as long as they still get to treat them like shit.

        These people aren't dumb, they know they're being taken advantage of. The good ones are looking to move to the UK, Canada, US, etc to get their decent wage and benefits.
        • by tyllwin ( 513130 ) on Saturday October 17, 2009 @07:38PM (#29780835)

          God, I wish I had points to mod this up. I've never ever seen it be about skills -- usually, in fact, the people doing the arbitrage don't even *know* what the relative skillsets are.

        • by davek ( 18465 )

          Here here. The dirty little secret about out-sourcing is you always get what you pay for. Anyone with skill, talent, and expertise will be able to find a position making the money they are worth. Why? Because if not, they would eventually start a working for themselves and create their own position of wealth.

          Cheap labor is exactly that: cheap.

        • And this is in some way unexpected? I'm not sure why they would bother to off shore if it cost the same amount, considering that the skills aren't exactly something that the US has a monopoly over. The only significant reason why one would want to, is that if you outsource to India, you can have tech support answered by the next morning, which for a lot of people is a huge advantage even without a cost savings.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Jaysyn ( 203771 )

        In the past 2 years, my company's bread & butter has been cleaning up GIS (Smallworld, specifically) crap done by an Indian outfit for one of the largest ISPs in the country. They got paid to screw it up & we get paid to fix it. Needless to say, the ISP in question no longer outsources design.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Not unique to IBM, but in order to be granted permission to bring on an H-1B holder, the company has to show a "good faith" effort to find a U.S. Citizen.

        HR is trained in how to structure the requirements such that they will not be filled.

        The objective is to exclude everyone that attempts to get through, and if ALL requirements are met, they have to conduct an interview, the objective of which is not to see if you're qualified, but to find any excuse to exclude you.

        Once that has been accomplished, they can

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by jawahar ( 541989 )
      "Behind every great fortune there is a crime." --Honore de Balzac
  • by John Hasler ( 414242 ) on Saturday October 17, 2009 @03:13PM (#29779227) Homepage

    > Do you need approval from the Feds before tidying up after someone who's
    > under investigation?

    While the courts might frown on destroying records relating to such a person there is no requirement that they remain on public display.

    • Unless it involves real evidence that relates to the alleged crime, I can't image why the courts would have any opinion at all.

      It amazes me that some Slashdotters (not necessarily the parent) who pride themselves on believing in the most remote stretches of "freedom" fail to understand how it applies in it's most obvious and direct form of free speech. The government can't arbitrarily order websites to add or remove any content about an individual no matter how much the Slashdott crowd may hate him or assum

      • > Unless it involves real evidence that relates to the alleged crime, I can't
        > image why the courts would have any opinion at all.

        That's why I wrote "might". Parties to the case would be well advised to refrain from destroying any records for fear of being accused of destroying evidence (justifiably or not) but they have every right to remove stuff from public display. Third parties such as LinkedIn are free to do as they will unless the prosecutors present them with court orders demanding preservat

    • The SEC must really suck if IBM was displaying evidence of wrong doing in a publicly accessible website designed to direct random visitors to read.
  • Common PR tactic. (Score:3, Informative)

    by slasho81 ( 455509 ) on Saturday October 17, 2009 @03:46PM (#29779433)
    Hiding an embarrassing employee's web presence is a common PR tactic used to delay journalists by making them look for facts about the employee longer. The lazy journalists and bloggers who just want to publish now will have fewer facts and skimpier stories which translates to less interesting stories and less media attention.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday October 17, 2009 @03:48PM (#29779445)
    Worked for 23+ years at IBM Greenock Personal Systems Manufacturing, then they sold us off to Sanmina - SCI who closed us down less than 2 years later. Always remember Moffat's speech to those being jetissoned about how we were all like his children and how you have to let go of your children if they are to grow and realise their true potential. Patronising c**t..... More like hiring Jeffrey Dahmer as a babysitter. Am organising a reunion of my old department to celebrate.
  • No surprise (Score:4, Insightful)

    by sjames ( 1099 ) on Saturday October 17, 2009 @04:04PM (#29779537) Homepage Journal

    It's not the least bit surprising. Who would want to remind the world that they heaped praise on someone who turned out to be a felonious swindler and a cheat (and probable psychopath)?

    The PR people fear that it reflects very poorly of the judgment of the others. I wouldn't be too hard on them though, psychopaths smart enough to not go to jail in their youth are notoriously hard to spot in a crowd.

    • Re:No surprise (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Junta ( 36770 ) on Saturday October 17, 2009 @05:02PM (#29779871)

      someone who turned out to be a felonious swindler and a cheat (and probable psychopath)?

      To be fair, that really could be any sufficiently successful executive.

      • Any sufficiently successful executive is indistinguishable from a psychopath?
        • Re:Hmmmm... (Score:4, Interesting)

          by sjames ( 1099 ) on Sunday October 18, 2009 @01:14PM (#29785139) Homepage Journal

          One does wonder when the executive culture and financial media routinely heap praise on executives who can make the "hard decisions" where "hard decision" is defined as one that hurts people in favor of profits and never means the decision to do the right thing for people in spite of the short term costs to the company. The latter decision seems to actually be the harder one since so few ever actually take that path.

    • Re:No surprise (Score:4, Insightful)

      by demachina ( 71715 ) on Saturday October 17, 2009 @11:53PM (#29781805)

      I think labeling these people as pschopathic is misguided at best. I'm pretty sure insider trading is an epidemic now and I wager a LOT of people are doing the same thing, in fact its behavior that is probably the new normal in the morally bankrupt world we live in. These guys were just doing it on a wholesale level and were unlucky that someone ratted them out. I wonder how many people are cringing right now because they know they've done the same thing and worry a little they might get caught too. I wager a week from now all the insider cheats will be back at it because the money is too good and too easy.

      It pretty tough to care about a few million made on illegal stock tips when places like Goldman Sachs are looting billions out of the pockets of all of us and getting away with it year after year. They ran a racket that nearly destroyed the global economy, pushed millions in to unemployment, foreclosure and homelessness and we punished them by giving them a bank charter, FDIC insurance, nearly unlimited money at zero percent. They are making a billion a month, and are going to pay record bonuses to the same execs who steamrolled our economy. When your whole economy has turned in to a crime scene how do you single out these people to jail.

      • by sjames ( 1099 )

        I have no doubt how big insider trading is now. It actually fits perfectly with psychopathy. A psychopath tends to have two paths in todays world. They either end up as career small time criminals generally ending up in jail shortly after they get released for the last crime, or they learn to "fake it" well and end up a CxO or on Wall Street.

        A reason I think society SHOULD pay attention to that is that it means it's not just a few bad apples. We can't just sit back and say "Well, they got him. Things should

    • all of us have an ability to turn off empathy. it does not take a genuine psychological abnormality to do something evil for the sake of greed or other base instinct. it also begins to separate the man from the crime in terms of responsibility: if he's a psychopath, it removes culpability by explaining away some of what someone does wrong as a simple psychological defect, something beyond their control

      no, a lot of really heinous crimes in this world are not done by psychopaths. and that actually makes the c

      • by sjames ( 1099 )

        Yes, we all have the ability to ignore our moral compass for the sake of greed, but few of us do so, and certainly not on so grand a scale. Perhaps it's not as easy as you imagine for most of us.

        Being a psychopath doesn't remove culpability for actions. The legal standard for culpability is if you understood that what you were doing was a crime. Since they have made some effort to hide it and even recognized that there were negative legal consequences if they get caught, they meet that standard easily.

        If we

        • is the source of all evil in the world

          all greed is is a desire to accumulate to support yourself. sometimes more than you need, but how do you draw the line? often it is the case that one mans reach for more winds up filling the bounty of those who can't or won't reach at all. societal systems that lock people's reach down wind up impoverishing all, not equating everyone at a high equal rate. there is always some natural inequality of accumulation due to merit and ability (and also via nepotism, inheritance

          • by sjames ( 1099 )

            Most people define greed as a willingness to set morality and ethics aside to get more than you need. Others would call that avarice. Whatever you call it, that's NOT good for society at all.

            If you steal from someone who can spare it in order to have something to eat through lack of choice, arguably you haven't behaved unethically. If you have plenty but steal more from someone who didn't have enough, you have behaved unethically. If you act in such a way that you get more and so do the others, GREAT! That'

  • All I wanna do is (BANG BANG BANG BANG!)
    And take your money


  • IBM may be able to as a legal maneuver remove all the Bios and promos made by this executive. However IBM's data retention and phone system logging is going to be hotly tested. Not much is done in IBM without some tracking system. Most the company phones have logs, all the emails are archived/retention for a few years. I think even the old Sametimes messages were also logged once long ago. It sounds like the US Justice Dept will have wiretaps as the big evidence.

    Unfortunately IBM's polices on email retentio

  • by bylo ( 1211278 ) on Saturday October 17, 2009 @05:03PM (#29779877) Homepage

    e.g. []

    [In case their scrubbers find this bio] "Robert W. Moffat, Jr.
    Senior Vice President and Group Executive, Systems and Technology Group

    Full biography

    Robert W. Moffat, Jr. is senior vice president and group executive, IBM Systems and Technology Group. Named to this position in July 2008, Mr. Moffat is responsible for all IBM hardware offerings as well as the microelectronics division, which translates IBM research and development into semiconductor solutions for IBM systems and OEM clients. In addition, the company’s integrated supply chain operations, which include global manufacturing, procurement and customer fulfillment, report to him.

    Mr. Moffat was senior vice president, Integrated Operations. In this cross-functional role created in July 2005, he led an initiative to transform and integrate the company’s supply chain and service delivery operations globally, leveraging new business process designs and advanced technology to achieve greater levels of efficiency while improving IBM's market responsiveness.

    Prior to that, Mr. Moffat was senior vice president and group executive of IBM's Personal and Printing Systems Group, where he was responsible for worldwide sales, development, manufacturing and marketing of Personal Computers, Printing Systems and Retail Store Solutions. Before that, he was vice president, finance and planning for the Enterprise Systems Group.

    Mr. Moffat has held a number of executive positions at IBM, including general manager of manufacturing, fulfillment and procurement initiatives for the PC business. He led the team that pioneered the Advanced Fulfillment Initiative, and channel collaboration initiatives, which were awarded the 1999 Franz Edelman Award, the highest recognition for achievement in operational research and management sciences, and supply chain management.

    His other positions at IBM, since joining in 1978, included assistant general manager, finance, planning, and business support for the IBM PC Company in Europe, and vice president of finance and planning.

    Mr. Moffat is a member of the IBM Performance Team and the IBM Corporate Operations Team. He serves as a member of the Board of Trustees for The Manufacturing Institute, an educational and research affiliate of the National Association of Manufacturers. He is also a non-voting observer on the Board of Directors of Lenovo Group Limited.

    Mr. Moffat is a graduate of Union College in Schenectady, New York, with a B.S. degree in Economics. He also holds an MBA in Management Information Systems from Iona College in New Rochelle, New York.

    July 2008"

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by davek ( 18465 )

      Mr. Moffat is a graduate of Union College in Schenectady

      Why Lord? Can't someone from Schenectady become famous for something other than being a crimial? I guess I'll have to be the first...

      OK. fine. There was the Rivest []

  • Time Was... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Greyfox ( 87712 ) on Saturday October 17, 2009 @05:23PM (#29779999) Homepage Journal
    IBM used to boast during the new employee orientation that IBM "Put the employees first, the customers second and the shareholders last." Time was people would network throughout the company and someone would be happy to help out if someone from another department needed help to move a project forward. Time was we believed we could do anything and our company wouldn't fuck us over.

    Too bad there's not a company like that anymore...

    • Given recent directives in ITSA, we spend more time doing paperwork for IBM than actually servicing our customer. We are even forbidden from accumulating overtime. 40 hour work weeks, no exceptions!

      I wonder if that's for the customer, IBM, or the shareholder? In my mind, not servicing the customer isn't good for anyone.

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by dgr73 ( 1055610 )
      I remember the same time.. when I was learning the ropes on some new piece of software, I'd call anywhere on the planet and have a fellow IBMer help me. And when people called me for help, I'd drop everything (or if I was real busy, told 'em to call be back a little later) and help out a collegue. People didn't call unless they were really stuck, so you knew you were saving them a lot of trouble and in the end making their customer happier.

      IBM also used to have a policy of paying the employees by their "w

  • by CuteSteveJobs ( 1343851 ) on Saturday October 17, 2009 @06:53PM (#29780595)
    There's a lot Lou Gerstner did at IBM that wasn't well known, like his raiding the pension funds and decimating the product line (DB2 anyone?). The business press is fawning of Gerstner (these are after all the same people who praise Madden and the Wall Street investment banks after all), but if you look at Amazon's review of his book you'll find many comments that tell the parts he left out in Gerstner's masturbatory little book: []

    Many like these:

    "It is strangely ironic that, after doing his best to suppress all negative communication within IBM, it should be the reader feedback on that alerts Gerstner to what the world at large really thinks of him. Ever since 1994 the newsreading public has been conned into a set of beliefs about IBM and Gerstner, simply through IBM's vice-like control of all media that wanted a share of IBM's ad spending. It is bizarre that he expects us to read through a critical employee e-mail on pages 81-82 of his book, when he admits that he couldn't even spare the time to reply to it himself.

    Gerstner was the IBM CEO with a worse revenue record than John Akers, the man he replaced. The only way Gerstner could find to grow revenue was by buying firms like Lotus. He turned what was a fantastic company to work for into a an ordinary one. He writes in the book that he transformed the company into a firm where the most able got the most rewards. In fact he converted it into a firm where the most aggressive individuals, like Gerstner, win through. He destroyed IBM's employee benefits schemes across the world, claiming they were unaffordable at the time of IBM's darkest hour. Perhaps they were at that time, but Gerstner's greatest sin was that he never returned any of the benefits to the employees when business improved, except through a silly bonus scheme that in my experience never motivated anyone. The result is that IBM has become a company that people still want to have on their CV, but those who join in mid-career almost never stay more than two years.

    Gerstner groped around and never really found the right idea for growing revenue. His shift to services meant that he took his eye off all the products in the IBM catalogue, and IBM architectures have become an irrelevance in a world now dominated by Windows, TCP/IP, Linux, Solaris and Oracle. He used the AS/400 as a cash cow when a very aggressive pricing scheme could have seen the system create the market that Windows NT instead built. Gerstner has said the Internet saved IBM, but frankly it did a lot more for rivals like Microsoft and Sun.

    There's a part of me that makes me think this book is one huge, ironic joke -- the guy only pretends to be unaware of the impact of his decisions on others. He boasts about a turnaround that never was and advocates management behaviour that no-one should accept.

    That would be fine if it were confined to the pages of this book. But unfortunately the impact of Gerstner is written large across the lives of many, many individuals who crossed his path, both inside and outside IBM. The blight cast over their lives means that, when they get the chance, they usually don't recommend IBM products. Gerstner just doesn't understand that.

    These pages on amazon ought to be required reading for anyone foolish enough to think they want a career in IBM. "

  • No Joy in Mudville []: "What does it say, then, when the architect of LEAN is arrested for alleged insider trading?...Moffat is guilty or he's stupid, neither of which says much for IBM."

  • by WindBourne ( 631190 ) on Saturday October 17, 2009 @10:36PM (#29781557) Journal
    if Sam Palmisano was also arrested, charged, tried, convicted and hung. The top of IBM have been horrible over the last 7 years.

"If it's not loud, it doesn't work!" -- Blank Reg, from "Max Headroom"