The Mark Hurd Side Show: HP's Ex-CEO Settles Harassment Charges

Mark Hurd resigned as CEO of Hewlett-Packard
Mark Hurd resigned as CEO of Hewlett-Packard

The Mark Hurd saga, which began on Friday when he resigned as head of Hewlett-Packard (HPQ) under pressure, isn't over. Several media reports say that he settled sexual harassment charges by a female contractor, has identified herself. The time Jodie Fisher spent with Hurd and the expenses he filed for some of their meetings have been listed as among the issues that forced Hurd to leave HP.

Fisher brought the sexual harassment charges against Hurd in a letter from her attorney sent to Hurd's office on June 29. She was represented by media-savvy attorney Gloria Allred, who's no stranger to high-profile clients, including two of Tiger Woods's mistresses and now Mel Gibson's alleged mistress.

An HP board investigation about the matter cleared Hurd of the sexual harassment charges but found that he was guilty of violating some of the company's standards of behavior.

"Expense Irregularities" for a Female Contractor

The amount of money Hurd paid the contractor wasn't disclosed. Reuters quotes unnamed sources who say she has released the company from any liability.

Histories of the meetings Hurd had with Fisher say he saw her on several occasions, mostly at company meetings. Hurd apparently approved large fees for her attendance at the events -- several thousands of dollars for each meeting. Hurd also shared meals with the contractor, and the HP board discovered that he had filed inaccurate documents involving some of these expenses. Fisher worked for HP from 2007 to 2009.

Some people close to Hurd defended his meetings as being part of the normal course of business. "A source familiar with Hurd's account of the situation said there were expense irregularities, in part because Hurd's expenses were filed by his assistant, who did not necessarily know who was in attendance at a certain meal," according to Reuters. These sources said Hurd visited locations where Fisher worked for normal company business reasons other than meeting her. The board clearly didn't buy that account.

(Editor's note: This story has been updated to reflect the name of the contractor, now that she has come forward.)