Mark Hurd is stepping down as CEO of Hewlett-Packard following an investigation into claims that he sexually harassed a former contractor to the company.

HP discovered the situation recently when outside legal counsel sent a letter to the company on behalf of the contractor on June 29. The next day, the board was notified and launched the investigation.

The investigation discovered that Hurd had a “close personal relationship” with a marketing contractor that he did not disclose to the board, Mike Holston, HP’s general counsel said. The consultant does not wish to be named, he said.

It also revealed that there were numerous instances where the contractor was paid or reimbursed without performing work. There were also inaccurate expense reports from Hurd meant to hide his personal relationship with the contractor, Holston said. That evidence pointed to “a profound lack of judgment” by Hurd, he said.

“Based on all of this, the board concluded and Mark agreed that it was impossible for him to be an effective leader and he has stepped down,” he said.

“It wasn’t the dollar amount that drove the board decision. The fact that drove the decision for the company had to do with integrity, it had to do with credibility and it had to do with honesty.”

“The announcement today has nothing to do with the operational performance of the company but is really all about Mark’s behavior and judgment,” said Lesjak.

In attempting to distance the company from Hurd, HP board member Marc Andreessen said: “HP is not about any one person.”

Courtesy: Bloomberg Businessweek

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