10 Most Controversial Companies Of 2012


1. Hewlett-Packard

HP, after a turbulent 2011, reached a Kardashians-level of drama this year, which is exactly what CEO Meg Whitman (pictured) didn't want.

Whitman, in a triumphant and ebullient speech to attendees at HP's Global Partner conference in February, vowed to keep HP on an even keel and out of the headlines.

Things didn't work out that way. Slowing PC and printer sales contributed to quarter after quarter of disappointing financial results, sending shares on a steady decline. HP announced it would lay off 27,000 employees, and several top executives left.

Things really got ugly after Autonomy CEO Mike Lynch was shown the door along with most of his executive team. Later, HP took a $5 billion charge on the Autonomy deal and accused Lynch and his team of cooking the books prior to the acquisition. Much finger-pointing ensued, and even ex-CEO Leo Apotheker joined in.