I had the unfortunate experience of working for Sam Whitford at Hewlett-Packard in Boise, Idaho. It was one of the worst mistakes of my career. He was the most backstabbing, conniving, corporate drone of a manager I have ever witnessed in many years of working in the business.
- He had his favorite people, and was very good at playing the "good ol' boy" club. He personifies the type of person that will smile right to your face, and then stab you in the back as soon as you turn around. He has no compassion for people, which is a byproduct of his miserable home life.
- I watched Sam Whitford terminate 2 different people. [continued below]....
..... Something largely unheard of at Hewlett-Packard Boise barring gross misconduct. One of the people he terminated was a very competent engineer with a tremendous reputation at the Boise site. Because Sam did not personally hire this person he used him as a target for his mandatory forced ranking. He fabricated bogus evaluations and made it impossible for this person to succeed. Once Sam decides that "he doesn't like you", there is no coming back from it. He will never give you a second chance, or allow someone to succeed. He will slowly poison you over time.Sam is one of the biggest "corporate groupie" managers I have ever seen in my entire career. I remember a time when there was an open position within the team. We were discussing several candidates, and Sam spoke up "I will be actively searching for a diversity candidate, even if that means the candidate is less qualified than a white male". I about passed out when I heard this. I mean, you are going to hire a candidate based on "diversity" and not technical and professional merit!? Sam is a traitor who is a white male himself. It's too bad a "diversity candidate" didn't get his job when he first applied with the company. Sam doesn't have the technical or soft skills that are needed to manage a technical group. His skills are largely outdated, and not once did I ever see him have a career discussion with individual staff members. The persona that people from the outside see of Sam, or his reputation that he "protects his people", is completely bogus.Sam had an ongoing affair with a personal assistant that worked for him for many years. This assistant was in all seriousness, one of the most worthless non-productive employees I have ever worked with. She would sit behind her desk and browse the internet all day, and play with photoshop. If you asked her for assistance or to order something, she would growl at you. It is funny how Sam protected her despite her performance\behavior that really should have been addressed with corrective action.
In summary; if you are considering a position within Sam Whitford's team, RUN don't walk away. If you are currently working on his team and have gotten even a slight hint that he disapproves with some aspect of your job, you better run immediately. You have been fully warned.
If you are an upper level manager and Sam is working within your organization, I would urge you to procede with caution with this snake. Both the company and your organization would be far better off without Sam poisoning it. Sam simply doesn't add value and can be extremely destructive to employee productivity.