Hurd’s Accuser Says She’s ‘Saddened’

Aug 9th, 2010 | By businessnews | Category: Business


August 09, 2010, 10:51 AM EDT




By Aaron Ricadela


(Updates with today’s trading in third-to-last paragraph.)

Aug. 9 (Bloomberg) — Jodie Fisher, a former actress who accused former Hewlett-Packard Co. Chief Executive Officer Mark Hurd of sexual harassment, said she is “surprised and saddened” that he lost his job over the matter.

Fisher and Hurd have settled the claim privately, according to a statement yesterday from her lawyer, Gloria Allred. Hurd resigned Aug. 6 after an investigation found he violated HP’s standards of business conduct by submitting inaccurate expense reports and concealing his personal relationship with the woman, who worked as a contractor at HP for two years. The company found that Hurd didn’t violate its harassment policy.

“I was surprised and saddened that Mark Hurd lost his job over this. That was never my intention,” Fisher, who wasn’t identified until yesterday, said in the statement. “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.”

The expenses, which ranged between $1,000 and $20,000, were for meals and travel, and Hurd intends to pay back the amount, a person with knowledge of the situation said. HP didn’t make any payments in the settlement of the harassment claim, according to another person familiar with the matter.

Acting Career

Allred described Fisher as “a single mom focused on raising her young son. She has a degree in political science from Texas Tech and was recently the vice president of a commercial real estate company.”

Fisher worked on the House Select Committee on Narcotics Abuse and Control, Allred said. Fisher also has appeared as an actress in such films as 1992’s “Intimate Obsession,” “Body of Influence 2” and “Sheer Passion,” according to her Internet Movie Database page, which lists her age as 50.

She most recently starred in an NBC reality show called “Age of Love.” In the program, women in their 20s, referred to as “kittens,” competed with ones in their 30s and 40s, so- called cougars, for a man’s affection. Fisher was on the “cougar” side.

The program, which aired in 2007, was produced by the company that makes the weight-loss reality show “The Biggest Loser.” A 25-year-old woman won the competition.

“At HP, I was under contract to work at high-level customer and executive summit events held around the country and abroad,” Fisher said in the statement. “I prepared for those events, worked very hard and enjoyed working for HP.”

Hurd’s Reign

The departure leaves HP, the world’s biggest maker of personal computers and printers, in search of a new CEO and chairman. Hurd, 53, spent five years at the helm, helping the company regain leadership in PCs and making more than $20 billion in acquisitions. In a conference call with media yesterday, the company said Hurd’s resignation won’t affect customer relationships and that the depth of management is the best in its history.

“One thing changed in this company on Friday, and that is our CEO left,” interim CEO Cathie Lesjak said on the call. “Our management breadth and depth in the company is as strong as it’s ever been.”

HP dropped $3.72, or 8 percent, to $42.59 at 10:45 a.m. in New York Stock Exchange composite trading, the most since May 6. The shares had lost 10 percent this year before today.

Hurd’s departure also won’t affect HP’s product rollout, Shane Robison, chief strategy and technology officer for the Palo Alto, California-based company, said on the call.

Allred, a lawyer with Allred, Maroko & Goldberg in Los Angeles, specializes in discrimination suits. She has represented clients in cases involving O.J. Simpson, Scott Peterson, Charlie Sheen and Tiger Woods.

–With assistance from Connie Guglielmo in San Francisco. Editors: Nick Turner, Cesca Antonelli

To contact the reporter on this story: Aaron Ricadela in San Francisco at aricadela@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Thomas Giles at tgiles5@bloomberg.net



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