Right before the weekend, we have some interesting news from Hewlett Packard, hardware and software maker, but most of all (at least to me) owner of Palm and its assets. CEO of HP, Mark Hurd, has resigned, effective immediately, after the board found out he had behaved “inappropriately” towards a former HP marketing contractor which “violated HP’s Standards of Business Conduct”. Cathie Lesjak has been appointed interim CEO while the company seeks a new one.
A former HP contractor had filed a sexual harassment claim against Mark Hurd, but after an outside investigation it was determined that this claim was false. Still, several other facts came to light that made Hurd’s position as CEO untenable; he “failed to disclose a close personal relationship he had with the contractor that constituted a conflict of interest, failed to maintain accurate expense reports, and misused company assets”.
Each of these constitute a violation of HP’s Standards of Business Conduct, and on top of that, they “demonstrated a profound lack of judgement” that severely undermined Hurd’s credibility within the company. The contractor in question was a marketing contractor, and she has chosen not to come forward.
While Cathie Lesjak will act as interim CEO for the time being, a committee led by former Netscape CEO Marc Andreessen will commence the search for a new CEO. Engadget asked if Palm’s Jon Rubinstein might be a candidate, but the company is not yet ready to talk names.
Interesting turn of events, but hey, what goes around comes around. Good on HP for acting this decisively, and making sure that even the CEO honors the code of conduct.