Tuesday, Aug. 10, 2010

Mark Hurd, Hewlett-Packard

In terms of badly behaving CEOs, Mark Hurd is not the worst. Still, he learned the hard way that when you're the man in charge, even somewhat minor misdeeds can get you the boot. Hurd stepped down from his post as chief executive officer of Hewlett-Packard on Aug. 6 after the company found he submitted inaccurate expense reports that concealed his personal relationship a female contractor who assisted on HP-sponsored events. That woman was movie and reality-TV actress Jodie Fisher, who sent the company a letter alleging sexual harassment that prompted the investigation. The board concluded Hurd did not violate HP's sexual-harassment policy, but it did uncover the inaccurate expense reports. About $20,000 in expenses are at issue — a minuscule sum for one of the world's largest information-technology companies. For her part, Fisher affirmed that the pair did not have a sexual relationship and said she was "saddened" to hear Hurd lost his job. "That was never my intention," she said. Still, the board stuck by its unanimous decision. "Sadly, Mark's conduct undermined the standards we expect of our employees, not to mention the standards to which the CEO must be held," said Marc Andreessen, an HP director.