The controversial letter that marked the beginning of the end for Mark Hurd’s five-year reign as Hewlett-Packard’s CEO is about to be made public. The public release of the missive accusing Hurd of sexual harassment was ordered late Thursday by Delaware Chancery Judge Donald Parsons in a shareholder lawsuit against HP (Ernesto Espinoza v Hewlett Packard Co, Delaware Chancery Court, No. 6000).
The letter accused Hurd of sexually harassing former HP contractor Jodie Fisher and was sent on Fisher’s behalf by her lawyer Gloria Allred. While an internal probe did not find Hurd guilty of sexual harassment, it did unearth “numerous instances where [Hurd's love interest, Jodie Fisher] received compensation and/or expense reimbursement where there was not a legitimate business purpose, as well as numerous instances where inaccurate expense reports were submitted by Mark.” Hurd resigned as a result on August 6, 2010.
Filed last November, the lawsuit by HP shareholder Ernesto Espinoza seeks “to obtain certain books and records from HP related to the handling of Hurd’s resignation, including the Letter.” Judge Parson ordered the unsealing of the letter while observing that Hurd had failed to “show good cause why the letter should remain under seal.”