Hewlett-Packard is ready to launch an "independent" investigation into former CEO Mark Hurd's departure from the company.
The probe would investigate the circumstances of Hurd's resignation from HP and his separation agreement with the company, according to a January 14 court filing (see below) in U.S. District Court for Northern California. The filing is in response to a shareholder lawsuit that claimed HP wasted corporate assets on an "unreasonable and grossly excessive severance award upon his resignation." HP awarded Hurd a compensation package valued at about $35 million at the time of his resignation.
HP proposes the probe would be led by a committee of outside attorneys and board members who joined the Silicon Valley giant after Hurd's departure. Hurd, who is now president of HP rival Oracle, resigned as chief executive in August 2010 after sexual harassment allegations led to an inquiry that found he had.
The scandal surrounding Hurd's departure has also reportedly attracted the attention of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. The SEC is reportedlyabout HP's pending acquisition of Electronic Data Systems (EDS) several months before the deal was made public. The person Hurd , the former marketing contractor who accused Hurd of sexual harassment.
HP officially announced its intent to acquire EDS for $13.9 billion in May 2008.
During a previous HP investigation, board of directors felt that Hurd's settlement of a sexual harassment claiminto allegations against its former chief executive's behavior. on August 5, 2010, and the board announced his resignation from the helm of the tech giant the next day, concluding that while Hurd had not violated the company's sexual harassment policy, his conduct "exhibited a profound lack of judgment."
HP representatives declined to comment on the proposed probe.