HP CEO Steps Down amid Sexual Harassment Accusations

After leading HP to financial success over the course of five years at its helm, Mark Hurd stepped down from his position as CEO on Friday amid sexual harassment allegations.

The now-deposed exec found himself under a magnifying glass when a former marketing services consultant for the company stepped forward with accusations of sexual harassment in late June. Hurd decided to resign his position only after HP’s board of directors launched an independent investigation – and apparently turned up enough details to make Hurd sweat.

The Board concluded that while Hurd did not violate HP’s sexual harassment policies, he did violate the company’s standards of business conduct. More specifically, Hurd filed fraudulent expense reports to disguise the paper trail left by his relationship.

“As the investigation progressed, I realized there were instances in which I did not live up to the standards and principles of trust, respect and integrity that I have espoused at HP and which have guided me throughout my career,” Hurd said in a statement released by HP. “After a number of discussions with members of the board, I will move aside and the board will search for new leadership. This is a painful decision for me to make after five years at HP, but I believe it would be difficult for me to continue as an effective leader at HP and I believe this is the only decision the board and I could make at this time.”

During his tenure at HP, Hurd has been widely credited for tightening the company’s fiscal belt and making it a leader in desktop and computer sales, while furthering its lead in printers. More recently, Hurd oversaw the purchase of Palm for $1.2 billion back in April.

HP has appointed CFO Cathie Lesjak, to replace Hurd for the time being, but the company has also formed a search committee to find a permanent replacement. Hurd, meanwhile, will reportedly leave with at least a $12.2 million severance payment, according to HP’s filings with the SEC.

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