HP directors to investigate Hurd’s severance payout


HP directors to investigate Hurd’s severance payout

Warwick Ashford

The newest Hewlett-Packard board members are to supervise a fresh investigation into the circumstances that led to the departure of former chief executive Mark Hurd.

The investigation was revealed in court documents pertaining to a case brought by HP shareholders who say Hurd's severance package of up to $40m was a waste of money.

The court documents do not name those who will supervise the investigation, but only new chief executive, Léo Apotheker, and venture capitalist Ray Lane have joined the HP board since Hurd's departure, according to the Financial Times.

An earlier internal investigation after a sex harassment claim by former HP contractor Jodie Fisher found that Hurd had only violated the company's code of conduct by manipulating expense reports to conceal his relationship with Fisher.

HP negotiated a payout for Hurd, who settled privately with Fisher, but some shareholders say the payout was excessive and should be returned to the company.

The case has been delayed to give the new HP directors time to investigate the claims.

HP still plans to bring a motion to dismiss the underlying case, the company's attorneys said in the filing late last week.

Hurd replaced Charles Phillips as co-president of Oracle alongside Safra Catz a month after the HP board forced him to quit.

HP immediately filed a lawsuit against Hurd, seeking monetary damages, assurances that HP's secrets were safe, and a court injunction to prevent Hurd taking up his new role immediately.

The company claimed Hurd's position at Oracle would lead inevitably to him divulging confidential information, but in late September, HP and Oracle issued a joint statement announcing the resolution of the litigation regarding Hurd.

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