Wall Street investors had a weekend to think about the abrupt departure of Hewlett-Packard CEO Mark Hurd. Conclusion: they're not pleased.
HP's stock opened at $42.60 on Monday morning and dropped $3.40, or 7.4 percent, over the course of the business day. In total, the company lost about $7.9 billion in market capitalization.
Hurd resigned as top executive of the world's largest technology company by revenue on Friday, after a company investigation found that he had turned in inaccurate expense reports, reportedly in the range of $1,000 to $20,000. The company's board unearthed that information after investigating claims by a former contractor to HP, Jodie Fisher, that Hurd had sexually harassed her.
Hurd was cleared of sexual harassment by HP's board, and he settled out of court with Fisher last week. Hurd is set to receive a severance package of $12.2 million and stock-related benefits from HP.
On Friday, some analysts that watch the company remained cautiously optimistic about HP's future sans Hurd. He'd added $45 billion to the company's market cap over the five years he'd been at the helm of HP, but the thinking was that even without the well-respected Hurd, the company is well run by competent managers of each business division.
But it appears that confidence is sagging now. "While HP has a strong and highly tenured executive team, with key executives in charge of its business units, the loss of Mark Hurd and his reputation for operational excellence is likely to increase investor concern over the ability of HP to sustain its financial performance, particularly as the company looks to drive revenue growth," Bernstein Research analyst Toni Sacconaghi wrote in a research note to investors Monday.
HP's next task is to find someone who will know how to steer the company of more than 300,000 employees and inspire the confidence of investors. The board says it has put together an executive search committee, and is considering candidates from both inside and outside the company. Here's CNET's analysis of top contenders for the position.