In a rare piece of salacious gossip from Silicon Valley, Hewlett Packard forced the resignation of CEO Mark Hurd in the wake of allegations that he engaged in inappropriate conduct with a female contractor, and subsequently fudged expense account records to keep their relationship under wraps. The woman involved in the saga would eventually come out and say that their relationship wasn’t of a sexual nature, but by that time, the damage had been done. The HP board had spoken, and Hurd was relieved of his position after they found “numerous instances where [Hurd’s love interest, Jodie Fisher] received compensation and/or expense reimbursement where there was not a legitimate business purpose, as well as numerous instances where inaccurate expense reports were submitted by Mark or on his behalf that intended to or had the effect of concealing Mark’s personal relationship with the contractor.”
In light of that, Oracle CEO Larry Ellison didn’t mince words in a New York Times article on the matter.
“The HP board just made the worst personnel decision since the idiots on the Apple board fired Steve Jobs many years ago,” Eillison stated. “In losing Mark Hurd, the H.P. board failed to act in the best interest of H.P.’s employees, shareholders, customers and partners. The H.P. board admits that it fully investigated the sexual harassment claims against Mark and found them to be utterly false.”
Oh yes, did we mention that this all started out as a sexual harassment investigation?
Anywhoo, the San Fransico Chronicle has a good breakdownof the events that would ultimately lead to Hurd’s removal. In short, it seems that HP panicked over what they thought was an impending sex scandal, and in a move to ward off bad publicity, Hurd ending up being the sacrificial lamb.