Unsealed letter reveals allegations against former HP CEO Mark Hurd

Back in August 2010, Mark Hurd stepped down as CEO of Hewlett-Packard amid allegations of inappropriate conduct and sexual harassment involving Jodie Fisher, an actress who took a job with HP as a hostess for corporate events. In departing HP, Hurd acknowledged he “did not live up to the standards and principles of trust, respect and integrity that I have espoused at HP,” but the details of the allegations against him were never aired publicly. That’s now changed, as a letter sent to Hurd by Fisher’s lawyer has been ordered unsealed. Although a few items regarding Hurd’s family have been redacted, the letter claims Hurd hired Fisher with the clear intent of having a sexual relationship with her, wining and dining her at out-of-town events and expecting sexual favors in return for continued employment.

The letter alleges that during 2008 and 2009, Hurd made several overt sexual advances to Fisher, which were all rejected, including asking Fisher to spend the night in Hurd’s hotel room, repeated insistence on hugs, kissing her on the lips, and showing off his seven-figure checking account balance in an effort to impress her.

“You treated her as a sex object, hand-picking her from a TV show, expecting sexual favors in return for giving her work,” Fisher’s well-known celebrity lawyer, Gloria Allred wrote. “This is the most egregious type of sexual harassment and this situation is what our laws are borne out of.”

The letter also alleges Hurd, who is married, kept other women on the side. “It is clear you have various women in various places utilizing HP monies, expensing hotels, airfare, and dinners while using your status and clear ability to enjoy female companionship and intimacy.”

The letter also alleges Hurd disclosed details of HP’s then-confidential plan to acquire EDS in 2008, a deal which eventually went through for $14 billion.

The letter had been sought by investors who are suing HP for not acting in the interest of its shareholders; the plaintiffs are also seeking the results of an internal investigation into Hurd’s conduct.

Both Hurd and Fisher have acknowledged the letter contains unspecified inaccuracies. Hurd and Fisher agreed to a confidential settlement of the allegations.

“The truth is, there never was any sexual harassment, which HP’s investigation confirmed,” said Hurd’s lawyer Amy Wintersheimer in a statement. “There never was any sexual relationship, which Ms. Fisher has confirmed.”

After departing HP, Hurd quickly landed a job as co-President of Oracle, one of HP’s largest rivals. HP is now on its second CEO since Hurd, with Meg Whitman recently taking over from former SAP chief Leo Apotheker.

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