HP board faces class action lawsuit over Hurd’s departure

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HP board faces class action lawsuit over Hurd’s departure

Warwick Ashford

Hewlett-Packard's directors are facing a class action lawsuit which claims that they violated their fiduciary duties in connection with Mark Hurd's resignation as chief executive.

The lawsuit claims HP's board violated corporate-governance guidelines by failing to inform shareholders of the investigation that led to Hurd's resignation, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Hurd and HP interim chief executive Cathie Lesjak are also named as defendants in the lawsuit filed on behalf of HP shareholder Brockton Contributory Retirement System.

The shareholders lawsuit seeks to recover at least $12m (£7.7m) paid as severance to Hurd, any damages caused to HP, and punitive damages, but the funds would go to HP.

The action comes as HP tries to assure customers and partners that it will find an appropriate successor for Hurd and remain focused on its business strategy.

Hurd resigned last week after the conclusion of an investigation which cleared him of sexual harassment charges by marketing contractor Jodie Fisher.

But the investigation did find Hurd in violation of HP's business conduct standards relating to Fisher, and this forced his resignation.

Senior staff are jockeying for Hurd's post after Lesjak said she would not remain in the role permanently.

Several outsiders, such as Steve Mills, head of IBM's software group, will be considered for the post, along with HP executive vice-presidents Todd Bradley, Dave Donatelli, Ann Livermore and Vyomesh Joshi, according to analysts.


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