The woman at the center of the sexual harassment probe that led to the resignation of Hewlett-Packard CEO Mark Hurd has come forward and said she was taken aback by his departure from the Silicon Valley giant.
"I was surprised and saddened that Mark Hurd lost his job over this. That was never my intention," Jodie Fisher, a former salesperson and actress, said in a statement released Sunday by Los Angeles attorney Gloria Allred. Her statement confirms earlier reports that she had resolved her claim against Hurd and said the two of them did not have a sexual relationship.
"Mark and I never had an affair or intimate sexual relationship. I first met Mark in 2007 when I interviewed for a contractor job at the company," Fisher said. "At HP, I was under contract to work at high-level customer and executive summit events held around the country and abroad. I prepared for those events, worked very hard and enjoyed working for HP."
Hurd resigned his position as chairman and chief executive officer of the Silicon Valley giant on Friday after it was revealed that HP had conducted an investigation into allegations of sexual harassment involving Hurd. The resignation took effect immediately. He was replaced by Chief Financial Officer Cathie Lesjak, who will act in an interim capacity.
On a conference call with the media Friday afternoon, HP General Counsel Mike Holston said Hurd had a "close, personal relationship" with a female contractor for two years between the fall of 2007 and 2009 that he did not disclose to the board of directors. HP did not disclose Fisher's name at the time.
HP's board conducted an investigation with outside investigators and concluded that while Hurd had not violated the company's sexual harassment policy, his conduct "exhibited a profound lack of judgment," according to Holston. HP's board insisted Hurd resign.
Hurd has reportedly paid the woman an undisclosed amount of money, but HP is not part of that financial settlement.
Fisher, 50, is a single mother focused on raising a young son, according to a statement by Allred. She has a political science degree from Texas Tech and was recently the vice president of a commercial real estate company, Allred said.
She also has appeared in a half-dozen movies since 1992, according to her Internet Movie Database profile, including 2009's "Easy Rider: The Ride Back" and 1998's "Sheer Passion." She also appeared on TV's "Joe Bob's Drive-in Theater" and "Silk Stalkings."
Hurd will receive a severance payment from HP of $12.2 million, plus other stock benefits, on the condition that he agrees not to pursue any legal action against the company, according to the separation agreement HP filed with the SEC on Friday.
Hurd joined HP in 2005 as CEO and president and was named chairman of the board in September 2006. Prior to that he spent 25 years at NCR, where he became CEO in 2002.