Mark Hurd's Sexual Harassment Settlement Took HP's Board by Surprise

Mark Hurd, former CEO of HPHewlett-Packard (HPQ) and former CEO Mark Hurd seem to be giving different accounts of events leading to and following Hurd's departure on Aug. 6, Bloomberg and the The Wall Street Journal reveal.

Perhaps most telling is that, according to the reports, the board was surprised Hurd had settled the sexual-harassment claim before the directors could learn more about the incident. This contributed to their unanimous vote to oust Hurd the following day.

"The effect [of the settlement] was to short-circuit the board's investigation and increase mistrust among directors who already felt Mr. Hurd hadn't been fully cooperating with the internal probe," the WSJ reports, citing people familiar with the matter. But this account is contrasted by others who are familiar with "Hurd's thinking," as the WSJ put it. Those sources say the board had instructed him to settle.

Movie-Watching at Work

HP began investigating the sexual harassment claim after Hurd received a letter from Jodie Fisher's lawyer on June 29. Fisher was an HP marketing contractor. While the company said officially that he didn't harass Fisher when it announced Hurd's departure, it said Hurd had violated HP's code of business conduct, including filing inaccurate expense reports.

Specifically, the probe found that Fisher received numerous inappropriate payments from HP during her two years as a contractor and that Hurd concealed their personal relationship. On this account, too, the stories differ, and those familiar with Hurd's thinking claim he didn't conceal the relationship

Bloomberg adds that "Investigators also found evidence on Hurd's work computer that he had viewed Fisher's adult-themed movies," and it named a few.

The board, which voted unanimously to remove Hurd, has also agreed to a large settlement package worth more than $35 million. Already, the board is subject of a lawsuit over its handling of the matter and the exit package granted to Hurd.

Increase your money and finance knowledge from home

Investing Like Warren Buffett

Learn from one of the world's best investors.

View Course »

Asset Allocation

Learn the most important step in structuring an investment portfolio.

View Course »

Add a Comment

*0 / 3000 Character Maximum


Filter by:
Mark Lathom

How many marketing contractors have adult films out? Just what exactly was this "Contrator" contracted to perform?

August 16 2010 at 8:41 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

35 millions for what he did to the company is ckicken feed , one private life has nothing to do with performance , He was a hell of a good CEO , He turned HP into one of the biggest player , that may actually been his downfall , jealousy .
I hope he sue them hard.

August 16 2010 at 1:36 PM Report abuse -2 rate up rate down Reply

I am so tired of these high paid executives getting even more money when they screw up. It goes along with the horrific salaries paid to the City of Bell, Calfornia politicians. To those of us who work for a living and earn an honst wage, this is insufferable. This guy is going to get millions - it stinks.

August 16 2010 at 1:07 PM Report abuse +4 rate up rate down Reply

In this lousy economy that is the way of big businessmen do it now. No matter who you are or how good or bad the comapny is doing, get the golden parachute. Top executives need to be held accountable for what they do. if it is to fire them then so be it. But these companies need to get their act together and stop hiring people , cause they think they are so great, then when they say they want that GP, tell so sorry charlie. In this market there are alot of good , honest people who want and need jobs. Who would work for the comapny not for themselves!! For too long big companies let these exectutives get away with everything short of murder. Look where it got us??? Bailing out banks, auto companies. In all those bailouts the bigwigs still got huge BONUSES!! My husband works for a auto company and I hasn;t gotten a raise in 3 years and does not have a GP. But he works hard, and honest everyday!! So I have no real sympathy for Mark Hurd and his 35 MILLIONS !!!!!!!!!

August 16 2010 at 12:51 PM Report abuse +4 rate up rate down Reply

i worked for HP for 12 years in Colorado Springs, Colorado. They were the best company i have ever worked for, Dave and Bill were still alive when i worked there and they treated there people with respect, we were not just employees but family. Now that they have passed the company has gone down hill....... Get it together people and go back to the way you use to treat your people. Why would you give him 35 million dollars...... for what..... he and many others before him have brought shame to the name of the good men who started this company....

August 16 2010 at 12:12 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I think the whole thing has gone out of control and the Board is not doing what is best for the company.
Number one by firing Mark Hurd and then they are crazy for paying him a 35 million dollars golden parachute.
Some times mistakes are made and they can be resolved peacefully and not jump to conclusions .
Was it worth firing him for this issue ? Put the HP Company in a bad position. Seems like Mr Hurd had been doing a very good job for HP.
Bill Clinton did not inhale.
There is always a plausible explination for his behavior. By the way what was his behavior that caused him to be fired????????

August 16 2010 at 11:57 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to ryldutchss's comment

"By the way what was his behavior that caused him to be fired????????"

------- Filing phoney, inaccurate expense reports is a good start to getting fired!

August 16 2010 at 12:28 PM Report abuse +4 rate up rate down Reply