The judge overseeing a lawsuit on behalf of HP shareholders has finally ordered that the letter accusing ex-CEO Mark Hurd of sexual harassment be unsealed.That’s fair. HP shareholders, deserve to know what led to Hurd getting canned.
The letter hasn’t been released yet, and when it is, it may be heavily redacted. (Too bad–and potentially unfair to shareholders.)
The judge did release tiny excerpts of the letter in his opinion today, though.
We haven’t read the letter ourselves yet, but a person who has read it had this to say about it:
“It will burn your eyeballs.”
So we’ll admit that we’re looking forward to reading it.
The letter, you will recall, is the one that led to Hurd getting forced out at HP. It’s eight pages long, and it was crafted by attack-dog attorney Gloria Allred. It is in the possession of a law firm suing HP on behalf of HP shareholders over the Hurd affair.
Hurd is arguing that the letter is “private” and should not be made public.
We can certainly understand why Hurd would want the letter kept private, especially if he thinks the allegations within it are wrong. The letter is presumably filled with juicy details, including how Hurd told HP contractor Jodie Fisher that HP was going to acquire EDS before the news was publicly released (the SEC is currently investigating this claim). The letter will presumably further embarrass Hurd and his family, regardless of whether anything it says is true.
But shareholders have every right to know the details about why their star CEO was tossed out of the company. And this letter is one of those details.
HP’s market cap plummeted when Hurd left, costing shareholders billions. HP also paid Hurd a huge severance to go away quietly, while also alleging that he had lied in his expense reports (inconsistent).
HP shareholders deserve to know exactly what HP’s board knew and when it knew it, and the letter is an important part of that.
So the judge’s decision is fair. The letter should absolutely be made public.
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