Jodie Fisher reportedly settles claim against ousted HP chief Mark Hurd

By Jia Lynn Yang
Monday, August 9, 2010

The woman who made the sexual harassment accusations leading to the ouster Friday of Hewlett-Packard chief executive Mark Hurd identified herself Sunday and said that she and Hurd had resolved the claim privately and without litigation.

Jodie Fisher, who worked on contract for HP's marketing department, said she was "surprised and saddened" that Hurd lost his job. She said that the two did not have a sexual relationship.

A clearer picture emerged Sunday of the woman whose complaints led to the departure of Hurd, whose reputation as a business manager was unimpeachable on Wall Street.

Fisher, 50, worked as an actress through the 1990s, appearing in such racy movies as "Intimate Obsession" and "Body of Influence 2." She was also a contestant on an NBC reality show that aired for one season in 2007 called "Age of Love," in which Australian tennis star Mark Philippoussis looked for love among two sets of women, one in their 20s and the other in their 40s. Fisher was in the older group, "the cougars."

Her attorney, Los Angeles lawyer Gloria Allred, said Fisher is now a "single mom focused on raising her son."

Allred added that Fisher is a graduate of Texas Tech University and was recently vice president of a commercial real estate company. Her attorney also said she worked at some point on the House Select Committee on Narcotics Abuse and Control.

"At HP, I was under contract to work at high-level customer and executive summit events held around the country and abroad," Fisher said in a statement. "I prepared for those events, worked very hard and enjoyed working for HP."

She said she met Hurd when she interviewed for a contractor position at the company in 2007. She worked as a marketing contractor there from 2007 to 2009.

Hurd, who is married, resigned Friday following an investigation by HP's board. The board concluded that Hurd did not violate the company's sexual harassment policies but that he falsified expense reports to conceal the nature of his relationship with Fisher. General counsel Mark Holston said Hurd "demonstrated a profound lack of judgment."

Chief Financial Officer Cathie Lesjak has stepped in as interim chief executive of HP while the board searches for Hurd's replacement.

Hurd was credited with turning around the company, based in Palo Alto, Calif., after the controversial ouster of Carly Fiorina. The company's PC division was losing money. Hurd stepped in and aggressively cut costs, turning HP into the world's biggest maker of PCs.

Members of HP's executive team said on a conference call Sunday that the company will withstand the loss of its chief executive without any problems. They declined to comment any further on the circumstances of Hurd's departure.

"A lot of has happened in the last 48 hours," Lesjak said. "The executive team is focused on running the business."

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