HP mulls independent look into Hurd’s departure

According to a court filing in San Francisco earlier this week, Hewlett-Packard is considering launching an independent investigation into the recent departure of former CEO Mark Hurd—including a closer look at the considerable executive compensation package he received. According to the filing, the company is considering the action in response to a shareholder’s demand.

Hurd abruptly departed from HP last year following allegations of sexual harassment, falsified expense reports, and concealing the nature of his relationship with a marketing contractor. Although Hurd was never formally charged, Hurd conceded to failing to live up to the “standards and principles of trust, respect, and integrity” he had himself advocated at HP. As part of his departure, Hurd collected a substantial compensation package, including $12.2 million in cash and substantial stock options: Hurd has since filed paperwork to sell about $30 million in HP stock options that were part of his severance package.

Some HP shareholders have filed suit against the company claiming Hurd’s substantial compensation package was “unreasonable and grossly excessive.”

The proposed investigation would be conducted by a team of outside attorneys and supervised by HP board members that have joined the company since the time of Hurd’s departure. The only board members who meet that criteria are current HP CO Leo Apotheker and former Oracle president Ray Lane, who is currently chairman of HP’s board.

Since leaving HP, Hurd has signed on as co-President of database giant Oracle. When Hurd joined Oracle, Hewlett-Packard immediately sued, claiming there was no way Hurd could execute his new duties at Oracle without violating non-disclosure and confidentiality agreements with HP. Oracle and HP came to an undisclosed settlement a few weeks later.

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