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back to article Playboy model's complaints against HP chief Hurd laid bare by court

The dossier detailing sexual harassment allegations that sparked the exit of HP boss Mark Hurd has finally been published after a court ruled that it was only "mildly embarrassing". The letter, readable here in pdf courtesy of the New York Times, contains alleged painful details of Hurd's flirtation with HP hostess Jodie Fisher …

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Anonymous Coward

"Hurd - who is credited with revivifying HP during his five-year stewardship from 2005"

Says who, other than Hurd and his employer-du-jour?

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Anonymous Coward

Um ...

http://articles.latimes.com/2010/aug/19/business/la-fi-hp-20100819

Worth a read for most, butthen you don't seem like the type of person to research a topic before you comment on it.

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Anonymous Coward

My impression was the he spent 5 years trimming back staff too far and milking resources to extinction. This will make things look good for a few years, but destroys long-term shareholder value.

As to that latimes article, all it says is that they had a good quarter the last quarter he was there, and were up compared to the equivalent quarter the previous year when he was, um, yes, there. Really doesn't demonstrate anyting other the ability to google for a link and then not even read it

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FAIL

Anyone think he has changed still moving to Oracle?

Well at least Jodie was smart enough to get a cool million vs. paying for billboards in NYC

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Anonymous Coward

He'll be stuffing oracle

If he carries on his HP past, he will

-kill most R&D in the name of the next quarters results

-redesign any profit sharing scheme to share profit with the senior executives only

-impose "emergency" pay cuts that never expire, as Mark did after the 2008 crisis and which he never reversed -Leo was the one that reverted that.

-supported one new product: a data warehouse idea that matched one from his old job, and probably wasn't his idea

Look for this in oracle land. If so, Mark will be famous for having killed two bay area companies.

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Thumb Up

Exactly

Anyone can make a large technology company's financials look good for a few years, just cut nearly all R&D spending and layoff staff. The existing product pipeline will hold out for a few years and customers are not going to immediately realize that their support levels have dropped off. The financials will be great for a few years and then the cupboard will be bare, which is the current situation at HP. Their high-end servers are basically dead, their storage (with the exception of 3PAR) in uncompetitive, they rely on Intel, Microsoft and formerly Oracle for the real technology work (which provides lower and lower margins). They are trying to acquire their way back to competitiveness, in lieu of R&D, which has left them with a $24 billion pile of long term debt. Hurd was not the great CEO that he is generally acknowledged to be. Granted, he did not do anything crazily stupid, as did Fiorina and Leo, but he didn't do anything remarkably positive either, just cut.

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Bronze badge

Do you really think that Ellison will let him? Id be willing to bet that Larry (and most likely the board also) has him on a very short leash because of what happened at HP, not that he'd ever say so, but I seriously doubt he'll be able to devastate Oracleland like he did over at HPville.

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Thumb Up

True

I think Ellison set him up with eight figure job, but no real responsibility. He is a President... but of what. He is sort of in charge of hardware, but that is really Fowler's job. He brags about increases in their database sales, which he had nothing to do with at all. It seems that his job is basically to play tennis with LE and show up for the analyst calls to repeat what LE just said. I don't know why Ellison likes this guy.

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jai
Silver badge

$30 million?

Funny, if I falsified my expenses claims I don't think I'd even get the chance to offer my resignation, let alone get paid 30 mil to do so.

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Anonymous Coward

That's because you don't appear to have ever offered your employers much of value. Perhaps when your efforts leave your employer with well over thirty million in cash just lying around, they might be a little more generous towards you.

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WTF?

@ AC

He left with a golden parachute after basically breaking the law... He SEXUALLY HARASSED an employee! He should have left with nothing! His 30 million dollar payout almost amounts to the Board of Directors condoning what he did and rewarding him and pretty much opens them up for legal and civil litigation!

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@zippy

Damn straight. Why would anybody think that this sort of behavior deserves $30,000,000? He should suffer the usual consequences for a harasser -- your stuff from your desk in a cardboard box on the curb beside you while you try to hail a cab, company mobile having been confiscated, too.

Be honest, guys -- that's what would happen to the rest of us. I don't know about the rest you, but I've added plenty to the bottom line, and while a piece of that action would be nice, if I'd acted as hornyHurd did, I would (and should) have forfeited it all.

So far, the answer's clear from HP's perspective. OK if you're a CEO to harass people. Just don't get caught.

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@perlcat

Yeah, exactly. $30Mil? Reallly?!? Unless his employment contract was written by a legal moron, he'd never collect that in court, nor would he have even tried... Oh wait, HP lawyers? nevermind...

I'm sorry, but execs should be held to a higher standard (anybody in authority really). For something like this, his employment contract should have had massive penalties to be paid to HP along with his severance. It just sends the rank and file the wrong message if bad behaviour is rewarded so handsomely at the top, and punished so severely lower down. At all other levels of the company, this would have simply gotten them fired. I suspect even at the VP level, they would have just gotten the sack and kicked out the door.

This has cost HP much more than $30Mil, and a whole mess of jobs. The PR damage was quite substantial, and just keeps going, and going and seemingly going. It keeps opening the door wider into the data center for HP competitors as well. Jeesh. Good luck Meg for 2012, you're going to need it!

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Anonymous Coward

Of course it is...

"So far, the answer's clear from HP's perspective. OK if you're a CEO to harass people. Just don't get caught."

The board are probably all doing the same thing, and having a boy's laugh about it.

The % of business execs who are womanising, arrogant, cheating, scumbag asshats seems to me to be vastly higher than the rest of the population. There seems to be something in the exec-type personality that *knows* money talks, thinks this is an OK attitude to life and that girls should get instant wet knickers over you're AMEX regardless of how ugly and married you are. Sad but apparently true.

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@AC Hurd lover

Are you Hurd's mum?

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Pint

@ToddRundgren

My guess is that AC is doing some harassing on his own, and thinks it's just another perk of power for the executroids like himself. Either that, or it's DirtyHurdy himself.

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Bronze badge

A bit sad...

Here, a man persists for two years, not just, say, two wearinsome months or even days. He really does not pick up the hint. And to show her his bank-balance -- well, whoo-eee, what a hot lothario. And boasting of other mistresses -- gee, what a great way to get a woman into your bed. The guy has 'sad' written all over him, and now the public can read it too. If I were Mr Hurd, I would be looking to buy a small island in the Aleutians and retire.

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Anonymous Coward

gold

This isn't exactly major harassment is it? The playboy model didn't register her complaint when she was being hand picked to fly around hosting large events beyond her abilities did she?

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WTF?

Blame the victim, go ahead.

How should she have handled this one, Einstein? Complained to someone in a position to do something about it? Now, who would that be?

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Anonymous Coward

Nips

She should have nipped it in the bud like any sensible person would, instead of taking the obvious beyond-your-means freebies, and complaining about it later.

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@AC

And your evidence things were beyond her abilities is??

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Paris Hilton

@nips -- Easy for you to say.

When you get a heck of a job, sometimes you stick with it, having bills to pay & all. She was hired to be fluff at a high rate for a reason, and fluff she was. From the context, she did say "no" -- it just didn't stick. If she was my woman, of course I'd have wanted her to quit. It's demeaning to live like that, having ham-handed attempts at seduction all the time. Some people just can't take "no" for an answer, you know.

Clearly Hurd is a weapons-grade moron -- not sure how seductive he thought it would be to tell the object of his attentions how he has mistresses in every town, but something tells me it is a turn-off. I don't even think PH would find it in the least bit attractive.

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Bronze badge

One rule for the rich...

As has been said, were I to harass a girl in the office here I wouldn't get a stonking great payout to leave, nor would my mates in the company over the road immediately give me another job. Seems at the 'top of the tree' you can do no wrong how ever hard you try. No wonder people are getting so ... erm... fed up.

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Anonymous Coward

And later,...

"the simpsons" will be suing him for trademark infringement of the Artie Ziff character.

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FAIL

hahaha... an internal investigation found no evidence

"After he handed the document to HP's lawyers, the biz launched an internal investigation but did not find any evidence to support the harassment claims"

Seriously? He harassed her for 2 hours at an event. He tried to kiss her and make her his mistress. He tried to impress her by showing her his bank account statement... HP fired him because of this... But there was no evidence!!! That is so laughable.

HP's shareholders needs to sue HP management and Hurd for the 30 million golden parachute!

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Facepalm

Yep, their investigator's named:

Renault : "I'm shocked, shocked to find that [sexual harassment] is going on in here! Nice ass, by the way."

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FAIL

Correction: Those were all allegations. The only concrete evidence they found was fraudulent expense reports, and THAT is what they fired him for.

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Facepalm

...and fraud's OK

[sarc]Oh, well, I guess that makes it OK, then. After all, it's not like he did anything illegal, unethical, or against the company policies he'd have held anyone else to.[/sarc]

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Holmes

He was fired for the fraud, so I'd wager it is NOT "ok".

What he wasn't fired for was the allegations of harassment, since there was no hard evidence of it.

He should have been fired, he was fired, and he shouldn't have gotten 30 million golden parachutes for committing fraud. Agreed 100%.

Sexual harassment doesn't even figure into the equation, though, because there was no evidence and it was not why he was fired.

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Mushroom

> ....there was no hard evidence of it

I get the impression that there might have been plenty of hard evidence, however I doubt it would have stood up in court.

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That is the idea

The reason the investor wants the letter is to bring a suit against the HP Board.

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Anonymous Coward

We buy Dells now

Cos his support staff became sloppy and weren't based in this country (usually a fail wherever it's implemented).

But he looks a proper tit now - didn't know about the golden goodbye, that I would love to see tested in court. If you pulled off that stunt as a state department worker, when fired, you'd have armed (with live rounds) guards watching you clear your stuff and leave the building.

AC as not sure what our IT people would make of my comments...

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I get the HP part, but Dell?

HP is a company that has fallen from grace. Dell had no where to fall. The problem with HP is that they have fallen to Dell standards. Just cheap, knock off gear. The company was actually founded with the purpose of making knock-off IBM PCs, nothing has changed.

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Bronze badge

They're a US Government employee obviously (the State Department part should give that away), and at least in the part of the Government that I worked in, the Defense Department/Department of the Army, we either use HP or Dell desktops and servers for the vast majority because HP and Dell are General Services Administration approved, meaning we can buy from them without clearing a million hurdles from GSA and whoever else in X department that does IT procurement. I dont know how state department procurement works, so maybe AC can clarify, but in the Army acquisitions command approves what we can buy so it ensures interoperability as well as availability of spare parts. At least thats how its supposed to work on paper. Closest I ever got to Quartermaster or Acquisitions was working in my Battalion and company's supply rooms sometimes.

Don't get me wrong, there are plenty of oddball computers here and there, NSA/CSS has tons of Cray supers and they're in my department, Energy Department has a good number of one-shot super clusters in the labs and National Nuclear Security Administration, and there's specialized kit here and there, but my point is that you're only going to run across a very small number of brands sitting on people's desks in an unclassified security environment.

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WTF?

So what you're saying is...

If you do well for the company then no matter if you sexually harass, rip off and break the law, you still walk away richer than before guaranteed a job at another huge firm anyway?

It clearly pays to be a smart criminal.

Perhaps I should consider being an chauvinistic (thanks spell checker) over paid prick?

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Anonymous Coward

"It clearly pays to be a smart criminal."

Gee, do you think?

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Bronze badge

Money

Money is the only thing that these people respect so yes they are willing to forget the hanky panky. But at the same time he committed fraud, messing with there money. To me thats even worse cause he committed a crime and you just let him off Crime does pay and it allows you to be a horny perv.

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Paris Hilton

Money can't buy you love

So it is true that money can't buy you love. Even after he showed her his ATM bank balance she said no.

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Anonymous Coward

Can't but you love?

No but it can buy the illusion of love - if only for a few hours

Or at least that's I've been told

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Anonymous Coward

IIRC ...

As I recall, the expense claims were not fraudulent. The bimbo's name was on them, the expenses were incurred at said time (before/during/after) events at which the bimbo did her "fluffy" stuff, both people were present and so on. The basic prerequisites for an expense claim.

It was deemed (quite some time afterwards, and after the allegations of inappropriate behaviour surfaced) that these expenses were "inappropriate" and thus not refundable.

This is a very long way from fraud. If that were the case, every one who had a tax deduction claim denied by the IRS would be guilty of fraud.

The board got all prudish about the CEO trying to chat up a "contract hire" and found an excuse, the expenses.

As anyone who has worked in bigtime corporate USofA will know, the "fake expenses" card is a very common tactic when an employee needs to be removed without a justifiable and underlying cause. I have seen this card drawn many, many times and in every case, it was spurious.

As for the bimbo, she is a cynical little nobody who saw her chance for 15 minutes of fame and some cold cash. Time's up, so back to the trailer park with her!

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Astroturfer alert

Hey AC - why not use your real name if you're so passionate about this - 4 posts and counting, what's your interest in this?

This seems to read like someone with a vested interest in clearing Hurd's name, your justifications are hardly convincing and seem to be along the lines of 'everyone else does it so it's okay'.

Get some ethics. Some solid ones that don't rely oin screwing over everyone else for short term gain.

It's just a job is never an excuse.

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Flame

> ...she is a cynical little nobody

Not the way I read it. She was a career woman. She put up with this mischievnous for 2 years and then the golden hello came to an end. Can't say I blame her for wanting to make further profit from a company exec who couldn't control his lust.

Where I think she failed in the process was not to have recorded these proceedings, or made viable witnesses available.

I feel genuinely sorry for her. What if this had been a horny guy trying it on with a male colleague?

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FAIL

Amazing

What really is amazing is the fact that he kept hitting her for two years.

Perhaps he read somewhere that "women like persistence" or he has his knowledge about women from telenovelas and hollywood-movies, where the women also say "yes", eventually, and marries the hero.

At least, the FAIL icon is thoroughly deserved here.

Would be interesting to know who had the idea to hire her in the first place...

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Mushroom

A big chorus of Oh My Heart Doth BLEED For Thee

Shall I lead the chorus then?

You are a playboy model and already have everything. Piss off and die! We dont CARE and never will!

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Gimp

I was sexually harassed at work once

By about 30 women at once.

It was fun for half an hour.

Then my hairnet came off and I went to work in another dry-soup manufacturing establishment.

I'm not sure if all women are capable of behaving like ravenous pack animals when assembled en-masse, but it wouldn't surprise me.

Don't think it scarred me too much. Although there are certain brands of Norwegian sounding dried soup that I have difficulty swallowing.

To be honest, none of it shattered me as much as that bloody hair-net - I was well shot of it.

Well played girls ;p

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Childcatcher

Sheesh

What is the point of having double standards if they apply to everybody?

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New guy(ette)

I wonder if Meg Whitman knows any playboy models? She wanted to follow in Schwarzenegger's shoes, didn't she? What was that comment during her campaign about how she would wear the pants or some such thing?

I wonder . . .

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Childcatcher

I wonder, too...

how we ever dodged that slug.

Jebus be praised.

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Joke

Will Ms Fisher be hosting Oracle events now?

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FAIL

Been there

Sounds like this man was very foolish and had let power and money go to his head - at least a little. In my experience as a lawyer, however, it is impossible to judge a story on the strength of one party's version only. Some things I would like to have seen picked up in this piece to add some balance would be as follows:

1. Ms Fisher's alleged vulnerability. She is unerringly portrayed in her lawyer's letter as a helpless victim but she doesn't sound so helpless and naive to me: Playboy model plus business woman plus http://www.poptower.com/age-of-love.htm). Is she really so incapable of handling a foolish, randy man?

2. The proximity of the events to the expiry of limitation for bringing proceedings. I'm not American so don't know what the time limits are but running up to expiry of limitation is always a factor in motivating people to pursue a claim - however spurious.

3. What was Hurd's version of events? Did he feel she led him and and exploited *his* vulnerability?

All in all there are no winners in this sort of case - only the lawyers. To his fans, Hurd is the victim of an unscrupulous opportunist. To her fans, Hurd is a sleazebag harrasser. Without the spotlight of a trial, no one will ever be the wiser.

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