The news came blaring across this past Friday afternoon. Hewlett-Packard CEO Mark Hurd had abruptly resigned (or had been asked to resign more properly). This occurred after it was revealed that Mr. Hurd had not disclosed a ‘close personal relationship’ with an H-P contractor Jodie Fisher.
Both Mr. Hurd and Ms. Fisher have denied that they had any kind of sexual relationship. As in the case with Tiger Woods and his wife, I say – who cares? What Mr. Hurd (or Mr. Woods) does with regard to his private life should not be any of our concern – but too often that is not the case. The real problem is that Mr. Hurd used $ 20,000 of H-P funds to pay some of Ms. Fisher’s expenses. And that Ms. Fisher was at times paid when there was no legitimate business purpose.
OK, wipe the smirk off your faces now.
Mr. Hurd offered to repay the money. But it was far too late. Just a note for the record – Mr. Hurd made $ 42.5 million in fiscal 2008 http://bit.ly/98dM2P. In 2009 the number was over $ 24 million. I think the real reason Mr. Hurd had to resign is that the directors at Hewlett-Packard were shocked to find out that they man had been anointed a corporate genius in rallying H-P back to prominence was actually not that bright after all.
Is there any reason you can think of to corporate expense $ 20,000 to a still attractive former B-movie actress who was hired as a ‘consultant’ when you made more than $ 60 million over the past two years?
That’s about the worst kind of judgment and were I an H-P shareholder I would have been frightened not to mention furious.
Another shooting star has fallen fast. Is it just me folks or are you also shocked at how smart people can be so dumb?
Interesting comments from Larry Ellison about the division in HP’s Board as to whether or not to disclose the sexual harassment investigation, which ultimately cleared Hurd. Wish I could read the transcripts of those board meetings. Come to think of it, didn’t Ellison marry his secretary?
You have a good memory on Mr Ellison. He probably would not fancy that particular recollection. Thanks for the comment.