HP CEO quits following sexual harassment probe

Mark Hurd, the man many believe is responsible for Hewlett Packard’s turnaround since his appointment as CEO in 2006, has resigned following an internal investigation into sexual harassment claims against him.

According to a company statement, the investigation "determined there was no violation of HP’s sexual harassment policy, but did find violations of HP’s Standards of Business Conduct".

The Wall Street Journal cites HP general counsel Michael Holston as saying that the probe found Hurd had filed inaccurate expense reports, and that certain payments to an unidentifed marketing contractor at the centre of the scandal were "questionable".

"As the investigation progressed, I realised there were instances in which I did not live up to the standards and principles of trust, respect and integrity that I have espoused at HP and which have guided me throughout my career," said Hurd in a statement.

The company’s chief financial officer Cathie Lesjak will serve as interim CEO. Speculation as to who might replace Hurd has included names such as Anne Livermore, the head of HP’s enterprise business, and the head of its personal systems group Todd Bradley.

HP has suffered a string a bad news stories this year. So far it has been accused of stealing trade secrets, evading tax in India, and paying "influencer fees" to win government contracts in the US and Russia. In the UK, it has paid £318 million in compensation to BSkyB over a failed CRM project and faced employee strikes over redundancies.

Its financial performance has gone from strength to strength, however. In its last financial quarter, the company grew revenues 13% year-on-year to $30.8 billion as net earnings rose 28% to $2.2 billion.

Pete Swabey

Pete Swabey

Pete was Editor of Information Age and head of technology research for Vitesse Media plc from 2005 to 2013, before moving on to be Senior Editor and then Editorial Director at The Economist Intelligence...

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