RPT-UPDATE 2-Accuser of ex-HP CEO Hurd steps forward

Mon Aug 9, 2010 7:04am EDT

(Repeats story initially published late on Sunday)

* Jodie Fisher says "saddened" Hurd lost job

* Fisher has resolved claim against Hurd (Recasts, incorporates material about Hurd accuser)

By Gabriel Madway

SAN FRANCISCO, Aug 8 (Reuters) - The woman whose sexual harassment accusation against Mark Hurd led to his ouster as chief executive of Hewlett-Packard (HPQ.N) came forward on Sunday, saying she never intended for Hurd to lose his job.

Jodie Fisher, a former actress who appeared on an NBC reality TV show in 2007, revealed her identity for the first time through a statement released by her attorney, Gloria Allred.

"I was surprised and saddened that Mark Hurd lost his job over this," said Fisher, 50. "That was never my intention."

Hurd's resignation, announced Friday, stunned the business world. HP accused him of falsifying expense reports to conceal a "close personal relationship" with Fisher. [ID:nN06147588]

<^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

For latest Reuters coverage click:

[ID:nN08236852]

^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^>

In the company's first public comments in two days, HP said on Sunday it has received an "extremely supportive" response from investors following the ouster of Hurd, one of the most widely admired CEOs in the world. [ID:nN08223483]

The saga began in late June when Fisher leveled a sexual harassment charge against Hurd. She worked as a contractor for HP from late 2007 through 2009.

An HP investigation found no violation of the company's sexual harassment policy, but turned up inaccurate expense reports filed by Hurd or on his behalf, and instances where Fisher received compensation for no legitimate business purpose, HP has said.

Fisher, who is not married and has a son, said Sunday she has resolved her claim against Hurd privately, but did not provide any further details. She said she did not have an affair with Hurd.

Fisher has worked in commercial real estate, as a saleswoman, and appeared in movies such as "Blood Dolls" and "Sheer Passion" in the 1990s, according to the website imdb.com. Most recently, Fisher appeared on the NBC reality show "Age of Love," which aired in 2007.

She has also worked on the House Select Committee on Narcotics Abuse and Control, according to Allred.

"At HP, I was under contract to work at high-level customer and executive summit events held around the country and abroad," Fisher said. "I prepared for those events, worked very hard and enjoyed working for HP."

MOVING ON

HP on Sunday made a public effort to put the controversy behind it and move forward.

Interim CEO Cathie Lesjak said HP has been transparent on the circumstances surrounding Hurd's departure, but declined to comment further on the matter. Sources close to Hurd's camp have disputed HP's account of events. [ID:nN07226290]

Lesjak said key investors and customers have supported the company's action, and understand that the Hurd was just one part of a talented team.

"One thing changed in this company on Friday and that was the CEO left," Lesjak said on a conference call with the media. "The rest of the company has not changed."

"At the end of the day, the investors that I've talked to were confident that we've made the right decision," she said.

Shares fell 10 percent in extended trading Friday, after the announcement of Hurd's resignation was made.

Lesjak, who has taken herself out of consideration for the CEO job, said the search committee is moving as swiftly as it can to identify a new leader for HP. (Reporting by Gabriel Madway; Editing by Diane Craft and Valerie Lee)

We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see http://blogs.reuters.com/fulldisclosure/2010/09/27/toward-a-more-thoughtful-conversation-on-stories/
Comments (4)
rajeevrawat wrote:
All students of leadership behaviors must ask: would a board remove a CEO for expense violations, where the reports were filed by an assistant?

Even stellar business results don’t trump trust and solid character. In today’s instant information sharing world, not much remains masked for long.

What was it that the board found so objectionable? Was there an irrefutable character flaw at play?

Rajeev Rawat
Sunnyvale, CA

Aug 08, 2010 11:59pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
therealjg wrote:
Fiorina was evil and incompetent. Hurd was evil and competent. HPQ has an opportunity here. Eschew evil. Return to servant leadership to get the rank and file back on board. Reject the leftist social progressive agenda for one based on competence and ability alone.

I’m not holding my breath, and am glad to have jumped ship in ‘05.

Aug 09, 2010 2:40am EDT  --  Report as abuse
johnwwayne wrote:
Women do not belong in the corporate ladder!

Aug 09, 2010 5:38am EDT  --  Report as abuse
This discussion is now closed. We welcome comments on our articles for a limited period after their publication.