Hurd made his decision following the conclusion of a sexual harassment investigation, in which Hurd was found in violation of HP's Standards of Business Conduct, though not its sexual harassment policy, according to a statement from HP, Palo Alto, Calif. The claim of sexual harassment was brought by a former contractor to HP, whose name was not provided.
"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," Hurd said in the statement. "After a number of discussions with members of the board, I will move aside and the board will search for new leadership"
Hurd continued: "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."
HP, the largest technology company in the world, named Hurd as its CEO and president in March, 2005 and named him chairman in September, 2006. He has been widely lauded by HP solution providers for his in-the-trenches approach to channel strategy.
Robert Ryan, lead independent director of HP's board, said that the board "deliberated extensively on this matter."
"Mark has contributed to HP over the past five years in establishing us as a leader in the industry. He has worked tirelessly to improve the value of HP, and we greatly appreciate his efforts. He is leaving this company in the hands of a very talented team of executives," Ryan said in the statement. "This departure was not related in any way to the company's operational performance or financial condition, both of which remain strong. The board recognizes that this change in leadership is unexpected news for everyone associated with HP, but we have strong leaders driving our businesses, and strong teams of employees driving performance."
A 24-year HP veteran, Lesjak has been HP's CFO and a member of HP's executive council since January 2007.
"The scale, global reach, broad portfolio, financial strength and, very importantly, the depth and talent of the HP team are sustainable advantages that uniquely position the company for the future," Lesjak said in the statement. "I accept the position of interim CEO with the clear goal to move the company forward in executing HP's strategy for profitable growth."
According to HP, Lesjak has not put herself in consideration for the permanent CEO job. HP will consider candidates both inside and outside the company, and a new chairman will be named with the CEO decision, HP said.
"The corporation is exceptionally well positioned strategically," Hurd said. "HP has an extremely talented executive team supported by a dedicated and customer focused work force. I expect that the company will continue to be successful in the future."