THE LAST MONTHS of Mark Hurd's tenure leading HP might be revisited as the maker of expensive printing ink is preparing to launch another investigation into the circumstances surrounding the resignation of its disgraced former CEO.
Hurd resigned from his post at HP following an investigation into allegations that he sexually harassed Jodie Fisher, a former HP contractor, which uncovered that Hurd was fiddling his expense claims.
Having settled with Fisher and been cleared of sexual harassment, Hurd left HP with a golden parachute worth around $35 million, only to join HP's software supplier and systems competitor Oracle as co-president shortly thereafter. HP then sued Hurd and he gave up part of his buyout to go to work at Oracle for his pal Larry Ellison.
HP's hand was forced after a shareholder demanded that the firm investigate Hurd's resignation. The investigation will be conducted by lawyers outside of HP and by the two board members that joined the firm following Hurd's departure. While the court filing doesn't name the board members, the two that fit the description are the current HP CEO Leo Apotheker and chairman Ray Lane.
Lane has already publicly voiced his disapproval of Hurd, penning a stiffly worded letter to the New York Times in which he said Hurd violated the trust of HP's board of directors by "repeatedly lying to them". Lane's comments might be construed as bias, but they were consistent with statements made by HP's board at the time.
The US Securities and Exchange Commission is already conducting an investigation into Hurd's resignation and, should HP decide to go ahead with its own, it will be the third such investigation into the events that led up to Hurd's resignation.
HP said its board will make a final decision next week on whether to reinvestigate its decision to fire Hurd. µ
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