HP sells EDS memorabilia




Posted on December 9, 2009 at 7:34 PM

Updated Thursday, Dec 10 at 8:44 AM

PLANO — Some former employees of Electronic Data Systems say their old company's culture is being destroyed from the inside.

California-based Hewlett-Packard bought the Plano company last year. It’s now auctioning off items it no longer needs — like an American flag from Afghanistan and a Presidential Service Award.

Some collectibles were part of company's heart and soul.

An on-line auction has thousands of items from 11 different HP buildings, including the Plano campus. There is furniture, ranging from grandfather clocks to coffee tables that stand on claws.

There is art, from hand-carved wooden sculptures to expensive oil paintings.

And then there are eagles — dozens of them.

“This is just another reminder of a time that was and isn't gong to be anymore," said Dick Shlakman, former EDS general counsel.

Shlakman focused his bidding on a bronze eagle. It's the same sculpture that was awarded to him for outstanding service when he was an EDS executive.

The eagles were one of EDS founder Ross Perot's recruiting tools: Perot used to say, “Eagles don't flock; you have to find them one at a time.”

Shlakman says he may not like the idea of the auction, but he accepts it.

“If it were EDS making the sale, it would have never happened, I don't care how dire the circumstances," he said. "There was a patriotism instilled in that company that this would not have happened."

The retired EDS lawyer says so many of the items carry deep meaning to former employees of the now-defunct company, including a Presidential Service Award presented to EDS by Bill Clinton, and an American flag presented by a navy captain to the company for it's support of employees who went to war in Iraq.

“It’s not owned by EDS any longer. This is Hewlett-Packard making the decision to sell this flag. The traditions that went along with the presentation of that flag don't exist any longer," Shlakman said.

A Hewlett-Packard spokesperson said the company considers the items excess surplus. Selling the merchandise, they say, is a common practice.

The former EDS lawyer says if HP wants to sell its property, it can do just that.

But he also says it's a shame.

E-mail sstoler@wfaa.com