The latest twist in Mark Hurd's tabloid-filled departure
from Hewlett-Packard is the suppression of Jodie Fisher's sexual
harassment complaint. The lawyers representing HP shareholders want to
make the eight-page letter public, but Hurd's Lawyers "filed a motion to
keep the letter under wraps," The Wall Street Journal
reports. The letter reportedly describes details of Fisher and Hurd's
alleged affair. Fisher, an actress in softcore flicks including Intimate
Obsession and Body of Influence 2, worked closely with Hurd as an
events hostess. Her complaint precipitated his departure from H-P and
subsequent employment at Oracle, all of which spawned a slew of legal
battles. Why does the letter matter? Here's what's buzzing in the
- Why the Letter Matters Ben Worthen at The Wall Street Journal explains:
Judge Parsons decides to lift the seal, the public will get its first
look at the allegations that set in motion the drama surrounding Mr.
Hurd's departure from H-P. Mr. Hurd abruptly left the Palo Alto, Calif.,
tech company in August following Ms. Fisher's allegations.
addition to the harassment claims, people who have seen Ms. Fisher's
letter said it alleged the former CEO told her in March 2008 about H-P's
still secret plan to acquire computer-services company Electronic Data
Systems Corp. H-P announced the $13.9 billion deal two months later.
- Another Reason It Matters The letter ultimately led to Hurd's departure, which in turn caused a gigantic plunge in HP's stock, notes Shira Ovida
at The Wall Street Journal: "H-P has seen $9.5 billion of its market
value evaporate since Hurd's departure." Additionally, she compares
H-P's stock to the DJIA, the Nasdaq and the S&P500. In each case,
the indexes rose while HP plummeted.
- But We Already Know What There Is to Know "[The]
story has been covered in-depth for some time I’ll just net it out
here," writes Rob Tenderloin at IT Business Edge:
Mark Hurd hired an attractive woman named Jodie Fisher to help
him host executive events. She performed the role of hostess--a role
that was typical of CEO wives back in the day--to keep the
conversations flowing and the executives from feeling ignored. By all
reports she did more than an adequate job and apparently she and Mark
Hurd became close until he fired her. She alleged that she was fired
because he wanted to take the wife metaphor to a more intimate
conclusion. She refused to hire a very high-profile attorney to argue
Her goal was to get a large settlement and part of what
she alleged was that Hurd shared intimate details about corporate
acquisitions that were privileged. Mark Hurd was subsequently fired from
HP not because of the alleged almost-affair but because his handpicked
board didn’t believe his stories about what happened and were scared to
death of an SEC investigation that could cost each of them their careers
- That Doesn't Matter: This Letter Needs to Be Made Public, writes Henry Blodget at Business Insider:
have every right to know the details about why their star CEO was
tossed out of the company. And this letter is one of those details. HP's
market cap plummeted when Hurd left, costing shareholders billions. HP
also paid Hurd a huge severance to go away quietly, while also alleging
that he had lied in his expense reports (inconsistent). HP shareholders
deserve to know exactly what HP's board knew and when it knew it, and
the letter is an important part of that.
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