HP Enterprise Services

Sex, lies and HP

November 8, 2010: 11:24 AM ET

There's more to the story of Jodie Fisher, Mark Hurd, and now Gloria Allred's role in the HP case, than has been reported. But it would probably take a legal action on the order of a shareholder lawsuit to find out what we don't already know

In the light of the Wall Street Journal's fine article posted Friday evening, a day after my article on the ouster of Mark Hurd from Hewlett-Packard (HPQ) last summer, I'd argue that most of what we are going to know about this weird case is now known. Not everything. But most.

Everyone has been waiting for a smoking gun in this story, and it hasn't appeared. The Journal reported that Jodie Fisher alleged in the threatening letter her lawyer, Gloria Allred, wrote to Hurd that Hurd had told Fisher about the upcoming HP acquisition of EDS. That's the "business secret" that I alluded to in my article. If true, the allegation, while shocking, doesn't rise to smoking-gun status. Yes, if true, it would have shown horrible judgment by Hurd. At the same time, it's not insider trading if no one trades. Furthermore, if this were the real reason HP's board turned against Hurd, it would have said so by now. No doubt the allegation contributed to the board's unease. But were this a firing offense that had been proved, we would have known it by now. This would have been an easy one for the board to have disclosed and ended all the carping about it having acted cowardly in showing the door to its star CEO. More

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