SAN FRANCISCO (AP) - Lauded for making Hewlett-Packard Co. the world’s biggest technology company, CEO Mark Hurd was in talks for a new contract worth about $100 million, according to a person familiar with the negotiations.
Instead, he’s getting about a third of that to just go away.
HP said Friday that it ousted Hurd after its investigation of a sexual harassment complaint found he had falsified expense reports and other documents to conceal a relationship with a contractor. Hurd also allegedly helped the woman get paid for work she didn’t do.
She worked for HP as a host at high-profile events accused him of sexual harassment, a person with intimate knowledge of the case told The Associated Press. The person requested anonymity because this person wasn’t authorized to speak publicly about the details of the case.
In recent weeks, Hurd was in negotiations for a new three-year contract worth about $100 million.
News of his abrupt departure sent HP’s stock tumbling nearly 10 percent after hours Friday. Shares of the world’s biggest maker of personal computers and printers have doubled in value during his five-year stewardship, and HP became the world’s No. 1 technology company by revenue in that time.
Hurd’s “systematic pattern” of submitting falsified financial reports to hide the relationship convinced the board that “it would be impossible for him to be an effective leader moving forward and that he had to step down,” HP general counsel Michael Holston said on a conference call Friday with analysts.
“The facts that drove the decision for the company had to with integrity, had to do with credibility, had to do with honesty,” Holston said, declining to elaborate.
Holston said the inaccurate financial reports related only to Hurd’s personal expenses.
High-profile Los Angeles attorney Gloria Allred said she is representing the woman and “there was no affair and no intimate sexual relationship” between her client and Hurd. Allred, reached by The Associated Press late Friday, declined to comment further.
The person close to the case told the AP that the woman worked as a host for more than a dozen events for CEOs that Hurd attended between 2007 and 2009. The person said the disputed expenses range from $1,000 to $20,000 each for travel, lodging and meals.
The person said many of the expenses were for meals after the events and that Hurd insists they were legitimate business expenses. The total amount of the expenses in dispute could not be learned.
Hurd has offered to repay expenses that were incorrectly filed, this person said.
The married father of two will get a $12.2 million severance payment and nearly 350,000 shares of HP stock worth about $16 million at Friday’s closing price. The company also extended the deadline for exercising options to buy up to 775,000 HP shares.