updated 04:05 pm EDT, Fri March 18, 2011
Judge orders unsealing HP's Hurd letter
Delaware district judge Don Parsons late Thursday ordered that the controversial letter to HP that led to CEO Mark Hurd's resignation be made public. He argued that many of the details of the letter were already known and that there would be little point to masking the details. The specific wording of the letter also didn't matter; it was frank about Hurd's apparent closeness to contractor Jodie Fisher, but it wasn't "graphic or lurid," he said.
The letter, sent by Fisher's attorney, made extensive claims that Hurd was intensely interested in Fisher and went out of his way to meet her in situations where it wouldn't have been relevant to business. He also reportedly manipulated expenses to cover up the involvement.
At least Hurd has denied sexual conduct even though he admitted meeting with Fisher in a hotel room, but both he and Fisher have argued that the letter is very inaccurate and was explicitly marked as secret. HP has largely sided with the court and said the letter was no longer private.
HP has had a rough history with CEOs leaving due to questionable behavior, including Carly Fiorina's exit after the "pre-texting" scandal involving spying on journalists. Hurd's resignation was one of the most dramatic, both through the implied affair as well as the complete lack of a transition. Most leaving CEOs give weeks or months, but Hurd left almost immediately.