Monday 20 November 2017

Actress Jodie Fisher cost Hewlett-Packard CEO Mark Hurd his job

Mark Hurd, former chief executive of Hewlett-Packard. Photo: Getty Images
Mark Hurd, former chief executive of Hewlett-Packard. Photo: Getty Images

Heidi Blake

A former porn actress and reality TV contestant, Jodie Fisher, has emerged as the woman whose sexual harassment claims cost the chief executive of Hewlett-Packard his job.

The 50-year-old said on Sunday that she was “surprised and saddened” that Mark Hurd, 53, had lost his job following her allegations.

Mr Hurd, who had spent five years at the helm of the world’s biggest maker of personal computers and printers, resigned last week after an investigation into Ms Fisher’s claims uncovered irregularities in his expenses.

The probe cleared Mr Hurd, 53, of sexually harassing the actress, who was contracted to appear at events sponsored by Hewlett-Packard, but found he had submitted inaccurate expense reports to conceal a “personal relationship” with her.

Ms Fisher denied having been in a relationship with the former chief executive in a statement released by her lawyer on Sunday night. She added that the pair had settled the sexual harassment claim privately.

“I was surprised and saddened that Mark Hurd lost his job over this. That was never my intention,” the statement read.

“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 investigation into Mr Hurd’s conduct began in June, when Ms Fisher sent him a letter setting out her sexual harassment allegations.

It uncovered irregularities in his expenses claims ranging between $1,000 and $20,000 for meals and travel, and found that he had failed to disclose a close personal relationship with Ms Fisher, who was paid at times when there was no legitimate purpose.

Ms Fisher acted in such R-rated films as Intimate Obsession, Body of Influence 2 and Sheer Passion and appeared on the 2007 NBC reality show Age of Love, which paired older women with a younger man.

She was under contract to represent HP at “high-level customer and executive summit events,” according to her lawyer.

Mr Hurd said in a statement following his resignation that he "realised there were instances in which I did not live up to the standards and principles of trust, respect and integrity that I have espoused at HP".

Marc Andreessen, a director of Hewlett-Packard, said: "Sadly, Mark's conduct undermined the standards we expect of our employees, not to mention the standards to which the CEO must be held, and the board decision was unanimous.”

Hurd, 53, was credited with reviving Hewlett-Packard’s fortunes during his five years at the helm.

His strategy of drastically cutting costs and thousands of jobs allowed the company to overtake Dell as the biggest manufacturer of PCs in the world in 2006.

His departure leaves the technology firm in search of a new CEO and chairman.

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