HP CEO and chairman Mark Hurd resigned suddenly Friday, after admitting falsifying expenses.
The misstated expenses, totaling between $1,000 and $20,000 (€753-15,064) came to light during an investigation into a sexual harassment claim by contractor Jodie Fisher.
The investigation found that Hurd had not violated HP’s sexual harassment policy, but that he had breached its standards of business conduct by filing false expense statements to cover a “close personal relationship” with Fisher, who had worked on HP customer events.
“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,” Hurd said in a statement.
The company did not identify Fisher, but she came forward to tell the New York Times that she was “surprised and saddened,” by Hurd’s departure. “That was never my intention.”
Fisher’s lawyer denied she had a sexual relationship with Hurd.
Hurd reached a settlement with Fisher on Thursday, the Wall St Journal reported.
HP’s board asked Hurd to resign after the investigation despite the former CEO offering to pay back the sums he claimed, NYT said.
Hurd has turned HP into the world’s biggest computer company since taking over from Carly Fiorina in 2005.
He broadened the firm’s services arm with the $13.9 billion takeover of EDS in 2008, and making a $1.2 billion bet on the handset market with the acquisition of Palm earlier this year.
It is the second time in four years that a scandal has forced the departure of a top HP executive. Chairman Patricia Dunn stepped down in September 2006 after hiring private investigators to tap journalist’s telephones.