Woman in HP scandal 'saddened' by CEO ouster

08:00, August 09, 2010      

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The woman at the center of the sexual harassment claim that forced the resignation of Hewlett-Packard Co. CEO Mark Hurd revealed her identity Sunday and said she is saddened that Hurd lost job.

Jodie Fisher, 50, knew Hurd through her contract jobs with HP's marketing department from 2007 to 2009. She was paid up to $5,000 per event to greet people and make introductions among executives attending HP events that she helped organize.

Details revealed Sunday show that she has also worked as a saleswoman, an executive at a commercial real estate company, and an actress.

She appeared in some racy R-rated movies in her 30s and most recently was on a dating show called "Age of Love," in which women competed for the attention of tennis star Mark Philippoussis. Her lawyer said Fisher is a single mother who is "focused on raising her young son."

Fisher repeated that she and Hurd never had a sexual relationship but neither she nor Allred would discuss details of the harassment claim.

That claim set off the chain of events that led to the discovery of allegedly falsified expense reports for dinners Hurd had with Fisher and culminated in Hurd's forced resignation Friday from the world's largest technology company.

Fisher acknowledged that she and Hurd have settled the matter. A person familiar with the case told The Associated Press that Hurd agreed to pay Fisher but would not reveal the size of the payment.

"I was surprised and saddened that Mark Hurd lost his job over this," Fisher said in a statement. "That was never my intention."

Hurd settled with Fisher on Thursday, a day before he resigned. The settlement did not involve a payment from HP, the person close to the case said.

The investigation by HP's board of directors found that Hurd listed other people as his dinner partners on expense reports when he'd been out with Fisher. HP also claimed Hurd arranged for her to be paid for work she didn't do.

Hurd, 53, insists they were legitimate business expenses. Hurd says the errors in the reports may have been entered unwittingly by an assistant.

The company determined Hurd didn't violate its sexual harassment policy but broke its rules of conduct and irreparably harmed his credibility and integrity.

Interim CEO Cathie Lesjak defended the company's decision on Sunday.

She said HP acted appropriately and that investors and big customers she has spoken with have been "extremely supportive."

"They respect how we dealt with the situation with transparency and speed. The bottom line is, the HP brand is strong," she said on a conference call with reporters. "One thing happened in this company on Friday — that is the CEO left. The rest of the company did not change."

HP now must find a new leader to keep it on the course Hurd mapped out.

Under Hurd, HP 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.

Hurd, who spent 25 years at ATM maker NCR Corp. before coming to HP in April 2005, became a Wall Street darling. HP's market value nearly doubled during his five years.

In recent weeks, he was in talks for a three-year contract that could have been worth $100 million, the person close to the case said. Those went off track when harassment allegations surfaced.

Hurd will get about $28 million in cash and stock in severance.

Source: Agencies / People's Daily Online

(Editor:张心意)

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