Mark Hurd stepped down as Hewlett-Packard Chairman and CEO in the wake of the company's investigation into a former HP contractor's claim that she was sexually harassed by him. Chief Financial Officer Cathie Lesjak immediately stepped in as interim CEO.
On Friday afternoon Lesjak sent a memo to company employees explaining the leadership change and going into some detail about the nature of the claim, and the results of the the HP board of directors' investigation. CNET has obtained a copy of that e-mail, which we've posted below in its entirety.
From: Cathie Lesjak, CFO and interim CEO
To: All HP employees
Subject: Organization announcement
This is to advise you that Mark Hurd, chairman and CEO of HP, has resigned from the company effective immediately. Mark's resignation was submitted at the request of the company's board of directors as a result of inappropriate behavior in which he engaged that violated HP's Standards of Business Conduct and undermined his ability to continue to lead the company.
At the request of the board, I have agreed to serve as interim CEO until a new, permanent CEO is hired. During this time I also will continue to perform my duties as CFO. The board has formed a committee to undertake a search for a new CEO, and candidates from inside the company as well as outside the company will be considered. I have informed the board, however, that I do not wish to be considered for the role of permanent CEO, and I have removed myself from being a candidate for that position.
While this news is unexpected, HP remains in an exceptionally strong position both financially and in the marketplace. It is essential, however, that we remain focused and continue to achieve--if not exceed--our operational and financial objectives.
Because there is likely to be considerable media coverage of this announcement during the next few days, I wanted to be the first to share the facts with you.
Mark's resignation followed an internal investigation into a claim of sexual harassment asserted against Mark and HP by a woman who is former contractor to HP. The investigation was conducted by outside counsel in conjunction with HP's general counsel's office and was overseen by the board. Based on the investigation it was determined that the former contractor's claim of sexual harassment was not supported by the facts.
The investigation did reveal, however, that Mark had engaged in other inappropriate conduct. Specifically, based on the facts that were gathered it was found that Mark had 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 constituted a violation of HP's Standards of Business Conduct (PDF), and together they demonstrated a profound lack of judgment that significantly undermined Mark's credibility and his ability to effectively lead HP.
As we regularly remind all employees, each of us is expected to adhere strictly to the Standards of Business Conduct in all of our business dealings and relationships. This expectation applies with even greater force to HP's CEO and other senior executives who, given their positions, must set the highest standard for professional and personal conduct. The investigation that was conducted revealed that Mark had failed to meet this standard.
We recognize that this change of leadership is unexpected news. We also know that HP's success in recent years is due to the collective efforts and hard work of more than 300,000 talented employees who have formulated far-reaching strategies and achieved our objectives better than anyone else in the industry.
On Monday morning we will conduct an all-employee Webcast to discuss this matter further and answer your questions. To join the Webcast please click on this link.
In closing, I would like to thank each of you for your contributions to HP and to ask that in the weeks and months to come we do everything to ensure that HP's future, like its past, is one of innovation, operational excellence, and the delivery of world-class products and services.
All the best.