SEC Looking Into Hurd's Exit from HP

By Cindy Waxer December 21, 2010

Mark Hurd’s legal problems are mounting as the Securities and Exchange Commission begins a probe into whether the current co-president of Oracle shared insider information about Hewlett-Packard’s $13.9 billion acquisition of Electronic Data Systems Corp., with Jodie Fisher, a former HP event hostess, in 2008.

The Wall Street Journal first reported the inquiry, which examines why Hurd resigned from his post as chief executive at HP. The Journal also reported that investigators are reviewing Hurd's expense reports at HP and examining whether he erased computer files related to his resignation.

Hurd’s ousting from HP came just five weeks after celebrity lawyer Gloria Allred sent him a letter last summer containing allegations of sexual harassment from Fisher. Hurd denied the allegations to HP’s board although the Journal reports that “the SEC is also looking at Mr. Hurd's use of corporate expenses in his dealings with Ms. Fisher.”

Controversy has long surrounded Hurd. As TechZone360.com reported in October, in a move that surprised shareholders and industry analysts alike, HP replaced ousted Hurd with Leo Apotheker, an HP outsider and 57-year-old German who served as SAP AG CEO before leaving the software giant in the throes of faltering financial performance.

HP’s board bid Hurd adieu amid allegations of sexual harassment in early August. Upon news of Apotheker’s hiring, HP shares fell $1.21, or 2.9 percent, in extended trading. Reuters reported that HP will pay Apotheker an annual salary of $1.2 million, plus a signing bonus of $4 million. Apotheker will also be granted 76,000 shares of restricted stock, according to an HP regulatory filing.

“Leo is a strategic thinker with a passion for technology, wide-reaching global experience and proven operational discipline – exactly what we were looking for in a CEO,” said Robert Ryan, lead independent director of the HP Board, in a statement. “After more than two decades in the industry, he has a strong track record of driving technological innovation, building customer relationships and developing world-class teams."




Edited by Tammy Wolf

TechZone360 Contributing Editor

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