Hewlett Packard CEO Mark Hurd has resigned immediately after an investigation started surrounding claims of sexual harassment. The HP Board of Directors has appointed Cathie Lesjak, the company’s CFO since January 2007, as the interim CEO while she still performs her duties as CFO and keeps those responsibilities until a permanent CEO is appointed. While the claim is that Hurd has been sexual harassment, the investigation that prompted the resignation showed that there is no such harassment involved, although he has been in violation of HP’s Standards of Business Conduct.
According to BusinessWire’s release:
Hurd said: “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. 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. I want to stress that this in no way reflects on the operating performance or financial integrity of HP.”
It seems that in Hurd is acting in the company’s best interest as well as his own. While the allegations of sexual harassment have been ruled out, HP says that Hurd submitted inaccurate expense reports to conceal his relationship with a contractor. However, it looks like this won’t affect HP’s operations negatively as the release says:
“The corporation is exceptionally well positioned strategically,” Hurd continued. “HP has an extremely talented executive team supported by a dedicated and customer focused work force. I expect that the company will continue to be successful in the future.”
Whether this will affect its plans with the recently acquired Palm remains to be seen. It’s certainly not going to help the company’s reputation, but apparently the HP Board, Mark Hurd and all parties involved deliberated at great length before reaching the decision and making this announcement.