HP Board Fires CEO for Invalid Expenses

Mark Hurd, considered one of the best-performing CEOs in corporate America, has lost his job as CEO of HP after irregularities were uncovered during an investigation of a sexual harassment complaint against him, reports the Wall Street Journal.


Cathie Lesjak, HP’s chief financial officer, took over as interim CEO last week while the the company seeks a new leader.


While Hurd didn't violate the computer giant's sexual harassment policy, other irregularities were uncovered--such as an invalid expense of about $20,000.


"Sadly, Mark's conduct undermined the standards we expect of our employees, not to mention the standards to which the CEO must be held, and the board decision was unanimous," said Marc Andreessen, an HP director, in a conference call Friday.


People familiar to the case told the Journal that Hurd negotiated a sizable exit package that may be worth more than $35 million, including a cash payment of $12.2 million. Typically, employees terminated for offenses under the code of conduct weren't given any severance, notes the Journal.


Management specialists told the Journal that even with his sizable exit package, Hurd is paying a price for the expense-account scandal.


'Worst Personnel Decision'

Defending his friend, Oracle Corp. Chief Executive Officer Larry Ellison said Hewlett-Packard Co.’s board made the wrong move when it forced Hurd to resign.


“The HP board just made the worst personnel decision since the idiots on the Apple board fired Steve Jobs many years ago,” said Ellison in a letter to the New York Times. “In losing Mark Hurd, the HP board failed to act in the best interest of HP’s employees, shareholders, customers and partners.”


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