HP Directors Hit With Lawsuit Over Hurd's Ouster


As Hewlett-Packard tries to get its house in order following the resignation of Chairman, CEO, and President Mark Hurd, the company's directors were slapped with a class action lawsuit that alleges they violated their fiduciary duties in connection with Hurd's departure, The Wall Street Journal reported Thursday.

The lawsuit, filed on behalf of HP shareholder Brockton Contributory Retirement System, says HP's board violated its corporate-governance guidelines by failing to inform shareholders of the investigation that led to Hurd's resignation Aug. 6, The Wall Street Journal reported. Also named as defendants in the lawsuit were Hurd and HP interim CEO Cathie Lesjak.

Filed in Santa Clara County Superior Court Tuesday, the shareholders lawsuit seeks to recover at least $12 million paid as severance to Hurd, any damages caused to HP, and punitive damages. The funds would go to HP, not the plaintiffs.

The action comes as Hewlett-Packard is trying to assure its customers and partners that it will find an effective successor and remain focused on its business strategy.

This week, HP executives sent an e-mail to thousands of HP's partners reassuring them that the company remains "absolutely focused" on delivering a successful line of products and services to its partners.

Hurd stepped down after the conclusion of a sexual harassment investigation in which he 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.