Former Hewlett-Packard CEO Mark Hurd made repeated sexual overtures--including kisses and inappropriate touching--according to the woman whose sexual harassment allegations led to Hurd's ouster.
The eight-page letter (see below), which was the subject of much contention, was written to Hurd by celebrity attorney Gloria Allred on behalf of Jodie Fisher, a former salesperson and one-time actress who accused the HP chief of trying to initiate an affair over a two-year period.
Hurd lost his battle to keep the letter confidential yesterday when a Delaware court ruled that Hurd had not established "good cause" to keep the letter under wraps. Release of the letter was being sought by investors, who are suing HP, accusing the company of not acting in the best interest of shareholders.
Hurd could not be reached for comment this evening, but his attorney, Amy Wintersheimer, released a statement to the media addressing the Delaware court's decision to release the letter.
"We requested the court keep the letter confidential because, as Ms. Fisher has acknowledged, it is filled with inaccuracies. The truth is, there never was any sexual harassment, which HP's investigation confirmed, and there never was any sexual relationship, which Ms. Fisher has confirmed," Wintersheimer said.
What the letter charges
"You had seen Ms. Fisher on the NBC television show 'Age of Love' that she appeared on in May/June 2007 and were quite taken with her," Allred wrote to Hurd in the June 24, 2010, letter, which claims Hurd first asked Fisher to spend the night with him in his hotel room after an HP sales conference in Atlanta in 2007.
Fisher went up to Hurd's room on the invitation to see some documents pertaining to a meeting with Madame Wu Yi, China's vice-premier. Allred claims Fisher then called her Alcoholics Anonymous sponsor for advice. Fisher, who had been sober for 20 years at the time, was assured by her sponsor that she had done nothing to compromise her integrity and subsequently went up to Hurd's room.
During this meeting, Hurd allegedly brushed Fisher's breast twice. When Fisher pointed it out to Hurd, he reportedly laughed it off, saying "oh, sorry, sorry."
Hurd then allegedly asked Fisher to spend the night with him. "Absolutely not. I barely know you and you are my boss," Fisher told Hurd, according to the letter. She later left the room after Hurd tried again to pressure her to stay the night with him.
When he called to ask her out the next night, Hurd admitted that he "didn't handle that right" and bragged about being liked by many women, including singer Sheryl Crow. Hurd told Fisher that she was the "lucky one," according to the letter.
"However Ms. Fisher did not feel lucky at all," Allred wrote in the letter. "She felt manipulated."
Based on ensuing events, "it's clear you had designs to make her your lover from the onset using your status and authority as CEO of HP," Allred said in the letter, which was obtained by various news agencies. "At times you would behave professionally seemingly 'getting' that she was not going to have sex with you. At other times, not, and you would relentlessly attempt to cajole her into having sex with you."
During one meeting in Madrid in 2008, Hurd allegedly told her about HP's then-confidential plan to acquire IT services EDS for $13.9 billion. During the same visit Hurd walked Fisher over to a bank ATM to show her his million-dollar balance.
Hurd resigned his position as chairman and chief executive officer of the Silicon Valley giant in August 2010, after it was revealed that HP had conducted an investigation into allegations of sexual harassment involving Hurd. The resignation took effect immediately. Hurd, who is married, is now president at Oracle.
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." Hurd reportedly paid Fisher an undisclosed amount of money to settle the charges. Both Hurd and Fisher have denied having sex with each other.