Hewlett-Packard announced on Tuesday that its current chairwoman, Patricia Dunn, will step down in 2007, making way for the company's chief executive officer and president Mark Hurd to assume the role.

The company has been under investigation by U.S. federal prosecutors over its inquiry into boardroom leaks to the press, prompting some members to call for Dunn's resignation.

On Tuesday, the company announced that she would resign, stating she was taking action to to ensure that inappropriate investigative techniques will not be employed again.

They have no place in HP, she added, in statement.

In response to the new position, Hurd felt the actions were appropriate and needed to be done.

The recent events that have taken place follow an important investigation that was required after the board sought to resolve the persistent disclosure of confidential information from within its ranks, he said in a statement. These leaks had the potential to affect not only the stock price of HP but also that of other publicly traded companies. Unfortunately, the investigation, which was conducted with third parties, included certain inappropriate techniques. These went beyond what we understood them to be, and I apologize that they were employed.

I am very proud of the progress HP has made over the past 18 months. During the remainder of my tenure as chairman, I look forward to completing the transition that is underway, including expanding the board, continuing to improve our corporate governance standards and bringing the current issues to resolution.

Richard Hackborn, who has served on the board since 1992, has been designated lead independent director, effective in January. In addition to having been chairman of the company in 2000, he spent 33 years as an HP employee, concluding his career in 1993 as head of the PC and personal information product business.

Dunn will remain as chairman through the company's Jan. 18, 2007, board meeting.