SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — The ouster of Hewlett-Packard Co.’s CEO leaves a hole in the world’s largest technology company.
Mark Hurd engineered a stunning turnaround of the Silicon Valley stalwart. Under Hurd, HP has spent more than $20 billion on acquisitions to transform itself from a computer and printer maker dependent on ink sales for profits to a well-rounded seller of hardware and lucrative business services. HP’s market value nearly doubled during his five years.
In recent weeks, Hurd had started talks for a three-year contract that could have been worth $100 million, a person close to the case told The Associated Press. Those went off track when the woman accused him and HP of sexual harassment, this person said.
The company determined Hurd didn’t violated its sexual harassment policy but broke its rules of conduct.
The woman’s lawyer, celebrity attorney Gloria Allred, declined to describe the harassment. Allred would not identify her client or make her available for an interview.
Hurd will get about $28 million in cash and stock just to walk away. The person said Hurd realized he could no longer lead HP in part because at least two board members were convinced he had had a sexual relationship with the woman and was trying to cover it up.
Hurd is accused of listing other people as his dinner partners on expense reports when he’d been out with the woman. HP also claimed Hurd arranged for her to be paid for work she didn’t do.
There was only one instance in which that occurred, the person close to the case said, but it was for an event that was canceled at the last minute and the woman’s contract required that she would be paid unless an event was canceled 30 days in advance.
Hurd says the errors in the reports may have been entered unwittingly by an assistant, according to the person close to the case, who requested anonymity because of not being authorized to speak publicly about it. Hurd hasn’t gotten a full accounting from HP of the expenses he is alleged to have falsified or a total, though he has agreed to refund the company, this person said.
This person said Hurd met the woman, who is in her 40s, when interviewing her in 2007 for a job greeting and introducing executives at corporate events that she also helped organize.
They talked at a luxury hotel and met for a second time in Denver when she was flown in for a final interview at an HP event Hurd was attending, according to this person. Hurd approved the hire then, the person said.
Hurd and the woman often shared dinner after events she was hired for, said the person, who described the relationship as an acquaintance that became friendly.
Hurd’s ouster is the third in five years at HP’s top echelon. First was Fiorina’s in 2005, then former Chairwoman Patricia Dunn was ousted in 2006 amid a boardroom spying scandal that involved spying on reporters’ and directors’ phone records to suss out the source of leaks to the media.
Jordan Robertson, AP Technology Writer, On Saturday August 7, 2010, 9:35 pm EDT
Full article here: AP