HP Directors to Probe into Hurd Departure

By Cindy Waxer January 20, 2011

A committee of Hewlett Packard directors are gearing up to investigate the reasons for CEO Mark Hurd’s departure from the company, according to a Reuters report.

The investigation begins as shareholder litigation involving the tech giant heats up. The committee of independent directors will be joined by outside lawyers, according to court filings unearthed by Reuters. HP’s board bid Hurd adieu amid allegations of sexual harassment in early August despite a lack of evidence backing up the allegations. However, an internal investigation revealed inaccurate expense reports. Hurd currently serves as a co-president at Oracle.

In December, TechZone360.com reported that the Securities and Exchange Commission began a probe into whether Hurd shared insider information about HP’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.

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Edited by Tammy Wolf

TechZone360 Contributing Editor

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