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Source: Ousted HP CEO settles with accuser
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Ousted Hewlett-Packard Co. CEO Mark Hurd has settled allegations of sexual harassment lodged against him by a female contract worker for HP, a person with intimate knowledge of the case told the Associated Press late Saturday.
The harassment accusations set off a chain of events that led to the discovery of allegedly falsified expense reports about Mr. Hurd’s meetings with the woman and culminated in Mr. Hurd’s stunning resignation this week that left a hole in the world’s largest technology company.
The person familiar with the case told the AP that Mr. Hurd agreed to pay the woman, but this person wouldn’t reveal the size of the payment. The settlement was between Mr. Hurd and his accuser and did not involve a payment from HP, this person said.
This person requested anonymity because of not being authorized to speak publicly about the issue.
The deal was reached Thursday, a day before Mr. Hurd’s resignation.
The Wall Street Journal reported earlier on the settlement.
Mr. Hurd engineered a stunning turnaround of the Silicon Valley stalwart before his ouster.
Under Mr. Hurd, HP has spent more than $20 billion on acquisitions to transform itself from a computer and printer maker dependent on ink sales for profits to a well-rounded seller of hardware and lucrative business services. HP’s market value nearly doubled during his five years.
The company suddenly is leaderless as it stands at a turning point to integrate some of those acquisitions, the most recent of which was the purchase of smart-phone maker Palm Inc. for $1.4 billion in June.
Mr. Hurd was forced to resign Friday after HP’s board of directors said he falsified expenses to hide numerous private dinners with a woman who was paid up to $5,000 per event to greet people and make introductions among executives attending HP events that she helped organize.
The expenses were scrutinized when the woman recently accused Mr. Hurd of sexual harassment. The nature of the complaint could not be learned. Mr. Hurd and a lawyer representing the woman, whose identity could not be learned, all said the relationship was not sexual.
Mr. Hurd insists they were legitimate business expenses. Mr. Hurd doesn’t know the total value of expenses being disputed or have a full accounting of them, the person briefed on the situation said.
Mr. Hurd’s departure leaves the company to find another leader to keep HP on the course he mapped out.
HP’s stock fell nearly 10 percent to $41.85 in after-hours trading, when the news was released after the close of markets Friday.
The company has a deep bench in management, and the stock drop was reactive and doesn’t reflect the company’s prospects, an analyst said.
By Brahma Chellaney
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