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Sexual harassment accusations push HP CEO Mark Hurd to resign

Popular electronics company Hewlett-Packard (HP) announced that CEO Mark Hurd has resigned immediately, in agreement with the board of directors. The resignation comes after a board investigation against Hurd for alleged sexual harassment claims by a former contractor.

The resignation comes as a big surprise, because of Hurd’s buttoned-down reputation. He’s also credited for having turned around HP, leading it back to its current status as the largest computer company in the world. The company had suffered years of turmoil under his predecessor Carly Fiorina. Under her rein, the company had fallen to No. 2. behind Dell.

According to the company’s announcement, the investigation concluded no violation of HP’s sexual harassment policy, but did find violations of HP’s standards of business conduct, including a pattern of “falsified expenses.” Hurd made the following statement:

As the investigation progressed, I realized 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 and which have guided me throughout my career. After a number of discussions with members of the board, I will move aside and the board will search for new leadership. This is a painful decision for me to make after five years at HP, but I believe it would be difficult for me to continue as an effective leader at HP and I believe this is the only decision the board and I could make at this time. I want to stress that this in no way reflects on the operating performance or financial integrity of HP.

The board of directors has appointed Chief Financial Officer Cathie Lesjak as interim CEO. She will also keep her current position as CFO while the created search committee works to find a new CEO and board chairman.