There is no rest for the weary folks at HP or their embattled ex-CEO Mark Hurd. Shareholders have filed a suit in a California Superior Court that makes a number of damning allegations about financial issues surrounding Hurd’s scandalous departure. Below, some lowlights from the complaint:
- HP directors were caught flat-footed by Mark Hurd’s departure and had no plan for his succession.
- This lack of a plan caused a 10% drop in HP shares and a loss of “$9 billion in market capitalization.”
- Plaintiff Brockhurst Contributory Retirement System also alleges Mark Hurd sold millions in shares before the lurid harassment charges against him were publicized.
- The plaintiffs also claim Hurd’s replacement, Catherine Lesjak, sold more than a cool quarter-million in shares a week before Hurd was let go.
The complaint also goes into HP’s investigation of Jodie Fisher’s sexual harassment claims:
After Hurd hired Ms. Fisher, she attended more than a dozen events in a number of different locales, some overseas. After these events, she often spent the evening dining with Hurd. However, as the HP Board’s investigation revealed, the expenses submitted by Hurd in some instances concealed that Ms. Fisher was his guest. Instead, they stated that he dined alone, or in some cases with his bodyguard.
Instead of disclosing these irregularities, say shareholders, HP went into cover-up mode, hiring a public relations and consulting firm to “to evaluate the damage such a revelation could cause if made public.”
The shareholders are seeking undetermined punitive damages and multiple amendments to HP business practices for insider selling and wasting corporate assets, just to name a few.
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