Monday, August 16, 2010

More, much more, on the Hurd case

Bloomberg is reporting what I and a lot of other people said the day that the HP/Mark Hurd scandal erupted: The stories from all the parties involved the day that Hurd was dismissed and shortly after didn't make sense. There was supposed to be a mediation session between Hurd, his personal counsel, Jodie Fisher, her counsel and HP's external counsel investigating the case, Covington & Burling, scheduled for the Friday that Hurd was eventually dismissed. At the mediation session, HP's counsel was to see the actual evidence that Fisher had and would have had an opportunity to ask her questions. Instead, without the Board's knowledge, Hurd privately settled the case with Fisher on Thursday and canceled the mediation session.

It's important to note that sources speaking for Hurd claim that the Board encouraged him to settle the complaint before the mediation session. Nevertheless, the fact that HP's investigators never had a chance to either review the evidence or interview Fisher brings up a very important question: How could the Board rule that no sexual harassment took place if they never saw the evidence or interviewed Fisher? (The Wall Street Journal reports that the Board couldn't get the evidence it needed to determine whether or not sexual harassment took place, so they announced that no harassment occurred. Why didn't they say that they were denied the opportunity to get the evidence they needed to make a determination?)

Bloomberg reports that Fisher flew to company events via first-class air, stayed in luxury hotels, and had dinner with Hurd 15 to 20 times. Each dinner cost around $400. Hurd reported that he was having dinner with his security guard, but the guard denied it. Fisher was paid between $1,000 and $5,000 for every event she hosted (so she made somewhere between $15,000 and $100,000, assuming that she had dinner with Hurd after every event.) Her duties were to stand around at a cocktail party for 90 minutes, direct traffic around Hurd, and then have dinner with Hurd after the event. A few more questions: Couldn't HP simply have sent an internal corporate communications manager with Hurd to each event to direct traffic? In how many cities does dinner for two cost $400?

Now for the most salacious part of the new disclosures: HP's investigators found evidence on Hurd's work computer that he had viewed Fisher's R-rated, adult-themed movies. Another Hurd source said that all he had done was search for her on Google and found her videos, but in the context of everything else that happened, that's highly unlikely.

If HP's board had just come clean with the real reasons for and details behind its decision when Hurd was terminated, this "drip-drip-drip" of embarrassing and salacious disclosures never would have happened. As I said in my first posting, there's yet more s--t likely to hit the fan in this case.
Enhanced by Zemanta
Post a Comment