Now that both sides have had a chance to tell their stories in the Mark Hurd ouster, it’s still not clear exactly why Hurd got the boot.
And it’s important that shareholders know exactly what happened, given that Hurd’s departure has already cost them $10 billion.
Hurd admitted not living up to his own ethical standards. But after another round of he said – she said in a recent Reuters article, it’s not clear what ethical lapses he was referring to.
HP said Hurd lied about the identity of his dinner companions in his expense reports to conceal secret dinners with his apparent crush (who both sides say he didn’t have sex with but who still sued him for sexual harassment anyway). Hurd’s people counter that Hurd’s secretary filed his expense reports and may not have known exactly who he was having dinner with (the reports are still his responsibility, obviously, but people do make mistakes). Hurd’s people also counter that Hurd’s expense reports sometimes DID list the woman as a dinner guest and that Hurd himself paid for other dinners with her where no business was discussed.
In a second allegation, HP also says Hurd had HP pay to fly the woman near to where he was staying even when she wasn’t working for HP. That would be embezzlement if true, but Hurd’s people deny that. They say in one of these instances, an event the woman was involved in was canceled at the last minute, after she had already made the trip.
So, what happened, exactly?
HP shareholders need to know.
If Hurd defrauded HP by submitting bogus expense reports to cover up a relationship or, worse, embezzled money by having the company fly his love-interest around on the company dime, Hurd should be fired for cause and not get a dime of severance.
If, on the other hand, Hurd has a good explanation for whatever happened, and the incorrect names on the expense reports were oversights by Hurd or his secretary, then he shouldn’t have been sacked.
And given that his sacking has already cost HP’s shareholders $10 billion, the Board owes shareholders an explanation of EXACTLY what happened here–including, if it’s important in understanding the Board’s logic–what happened with the mystery woman.
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