HP’s chief executive Mark Hurd, has stepped down from the company, following investigations into sexual harassment brought by a former HP contractor.
The revelations were made in a call to investors last Friday by HP’s chief financial officer Cathie Lesjak, who said that she would be taking over as interim CEO while the search for a replacement for Hurd was ongoing. Lesjak removed herself from candidacy for the role full-time.
The sexual harassment claims were made by a former HP contractor and Lesjak revealed that while the claims against Hurd proved not to stand-up to scrutiny, the investigation did reveal that Hurd had made inaccurate expense claims, had misused company assets and had not revealed that his relationship with the woman in question constituted a conflict of interest. All-in-all the board decided he could not continue as leader of the company.
Whatever the ins and outs of the case, the fact is that the man who helmed HP during its purchase of WebOS from Palm is no longer in charge. While Apple has just replaced its head iPhone engineer, the loss of the head of HP could be seen as a far bigger blow.
However, Lesjak was quick to minimise the impact of the loss stating on the investor call that while Mark Hurd was a, “strong leader, at the end of the day, he didn't drive our initiatives - it was the organization that supported Mark in driving those initiatives."
"One thing changed in this company on Friday and that was the CEO left," Lesjak said in a news conference Reuters reported. "The rest of the company has not changed."
This could be good news for HP in the long run. If it finds itself with a more focussed and less distracted CEO, it could put out better products, in particular both WebOS and Windows powered tablets to rival the iPad, which when it comes down to it, is what we all want to see.