End of the affair for HP boss Hurd
HP boss Mark Hurd has left the company amid allegations that he attempted to conceal a “close personal relationship” with a company contractor.
Hurd’s resignation, announced over the weekend, stunned the business world. HP accused him of falsifying expense reports to conceal the relationship with company contractor Jodie Fisher.
At the end of the day, the investors that I’ve talked to were confident that we’ve made the right decision
Fisher had accused Hurd of sexual harassment, but claims she never intended for Hurd to lose his job. Fisher, a former actress who appeared on an NBC reality TV show in 2007, revealed her identity for the first time through a statement released by her lawyer. “I was surprised and saddened that Mark Hurd lost his job over this,” said Fisher, 50. “That was never my intention.”
The saga began in late June when Fisher leveled a sexual harassment charge against Hurd. She worked as a contractor for HP from late 2007 through 2009.
An HP investigation found no violation of the company’s sexual harassment policy, but turned up inaccurate expense reports filed by Hurd or on his behalf, and instances where Fisher received compensation for no legitimate business purpose, HP said.
Fisher said she has resolved her claim against Hurd privately, but did not provide any further details. She said she didn’t have an affair with Hurd.
Fisher has worked in commercial real estate, as a saleswoman, and appeared in movies such as Blood Dolls and Sheer Passion in the 1990s, according to the website imdb.com. Most recently, Fisher appeared on the NBC reality show Age of Love, which aired in 2007. She has also worked on the US House Select Committee on Narcotics Abuse and Control.
“At HP, I was under contract to work at high-level customer and executive summit events held around the country and abroad,” Fisher said. “I prepared for those events, worked very hard and enjoyed working for HP.”
HP held a press conference in aneffort to put the controversy behind it and move forward.
Interim CEO Cathie Lesjak said HP has been transparent on the circumstances surrounding Hurd’s departure, but declined to comment further on the matter. Sources close to Hurd’s camp have disputed HP’s account of events.
Lesjak said key investors and customers have supported the company’s action, and understand that the Hurd was just one part of a talented team. “One thing changed in this company on Friday and that was the CEO left,” Lesjak said. “The rest of the company has not changed.”
“At the end of the day, the investors that I’ve talked to were confident that we’ve made the right decision,” she said.
Shares fell 10% in extended trading Friday, after the announcement of Hurd’s resignation. Lesjak, who has taken herself out of consideration for the CEO job, said the search committee is moving as swiftly as it can to identify a new leader for HP.