GM Calls HP Deposition Effort of Ex-Workers ‘Retaliatory’

General Motors Co. (GM) Chief Information Officer Randy Mott called Hewlett-Packard Co. (HPQ)’s efforts to question two technology workers hired by the automaker “retaliatory” and a “fishing expedition.”

The technology company’s petition filed in state court in Travis County, Texas, last month to take depositions from the workers comes as Detroit-based GM is hiring about 7,500 information technology workers over five years as part of a broader shift to move such work in-house instead of using outside contractors, such as Palo Alto, California-based Hewlett-Packard.

“We’re looking for talent, is the short answer, and we’re looking for the best talent,” Mott told reporters today on a conference call. “There is no official legal action. It’s a fishing expedition, and it feels very retaliatory and harassing to the individuals. But I think most people will see through that, and I think talent will go where talent sees the opportunity and that’s certainly our intent to facilitate.”

GM furthered its effort today with an announcement that it will hire about 1,000 IT workers for a new so-called innovation center in suburban Atlanta. Mott, a former chief information officer at Hewlett-Packard, has previously said that GM will open four of those centers, with locations in Warren, Michigan, and Austin, Texas, having been named already. The fourth hasn’t been announced yet.

HP is seeking to depose a pair of former executives after 18 employees “resigned en masse and without notice” and went to work “immediately” at GM, according to a petition filed in a Texas court. “The company feels compelled to investigate the potential claims it may have,” Hewlett-Packard said in the filing.

Absorbing Workers

HP’s deposition effort “has nothing” to do with the earlier agreement announced in October to absorb 3,000 of the tech company’s workers already performing duties for GM, Mott said.

GM had done about 10 percent of its IT work internally and Mott plans to boost that to 90 percent as Chief Executive Officer Dan Akerson pushes to update GM’s computer and financial reporting systems. The automaker started with about 1,500 in- house IT workers and ultimately wants to have about 9,000, he said today.

To contact the reporter on this story: Tim Higgins in Southfield, Michigan, at thiggins21@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Jamie Butters at jbutters@bloomberg.net

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