Arik Hesseldahl

Recent Posts by Arik Hesseldahl

Judge: HP Can Re-Investigate Hurd Departure

Hewlett-Packard’s proposed plan to revist the circumstances that led to the departure of former CEO Mark Hurd can proceed, a federal judge in San Jose, Calif., ruled today.

It’s the latest development in a shareholder lawsuit against HP in which the plaintiffs have alleged that HP’s board of directors let Hurd walk out the door with too much money when he resigned following accusations of sexual harassment by a onetime contractor. They’re seeking an order that would require Hurd to disgorge the payments he received as his severance deal.

The judge, James Ware, ignored Hurd’s argument that he deserves to see documents relating to the matter that so far HP has refused to share, though the ruling doesn’t address whether he’ll ultimately get to see them or not. Hurd had objected to a new investigation, saying he would agree to it only if he were to get copies of the initial demand letter from shareholders that led to the lawsuit, as well as related documents that are under seal in a separate shareholder case on the same issue that’s before the Delaware Court of Chancery. Ware scheduled a hearing on March 20 to hear an update on the investigation.

Hurd resigned from HP in August after accusations about sexual harassment arose from Jodie Fisher, a onetime actress and former HP contractor. He was found not to have violated HP’s sexual harassment policy, but was found to have violated HP’s expense-reporting policy. After leaving HP, he went on to become co-president of Oracle, after Oracle CEO Larry Ellison criticized HP’s board of directors for its handling of the incident.

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I think the NSA has a job to do and we need the NSA. But as (physicist) Robert Oppenheimer said, “When you see something that is technically sweet, you go ahead and do it and argue about what to do about it only after you’ve had your technical success. That is the way it was with the atomic bomb.”

— Phil Zimmerman, PGP inventor and Silent Circle co-founder, in an interview with Om Malik