CEO scandal shears $10bn off HP market price

Hewlett-Packard’s market value plunged by almost $10 billion immediately after CEO Mark Hurd resigned on Friday, around 10% of its total value.

The drop suggests investors are pessimistic about HP’s future without Hurd, a man credited with turning the IT giant around since his appointment in 2006.

Hurd announced on Friday that he was leaving the company following an investigation into sexual harassment claims against him. The probe found no evidence of violation of HP’s sexual harassment code, the company’s board of directors said, but did find breaches of its Standards of Business Conduct.

Certain payments made to Jodie Fisher, the marketing contractor, reality TV star and former adult film actress that reportedly accused Hurd of harassment, were “questionable”, the company said.

In a statement released by her lawyer on Sunday, Fisher denied having a relationship with Hurd, who is married, adding that she and the now departed CEO had settled a sexual harassment suit in private.

“I was surprised and saddened that Mark Hurd lost his job over this. That was never my intention,” she said. “Mark and I never had an affair or intimate sexual relationship. I first met Mark in 2007 when I interviewed for a contractor job at the company.”

HP chief financial officer Cathie Lesjak will act as interim CEO until a permanent replacement for Hurd is appointed.

Peter Done

Peter Done is managing director of Peninsula Business Services, the personnel and employment law consultancy he set up having already built a successful betting shop business.

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