The actress who brought down a Wall Street star

Hewlett-Packard boss falls victim to a sex-and-expenses scandal – and sees $10bn wiped off the value of his company

With her model good looks and a blonde-bombshell style that leaves people stunned when she admits to being 50 years old, Jodie Fisher looks every inch the Hollywood leading lady. But through two decades of trying – half a lifetime of bit-parts, reality TV try-outs and an early career detour into soft core pornography – she has never generated as many column inches or as much on-camera time as she has in the past three days.

But now everything is different, as Ms Fisher has landed the unexpected role of femme fatale in a drama that has captivated an unexpected audience, an audience not in Tinseltown but rather on Wall Street and in the Silicon Valley home of the technology industry.

It is a drama that has led to the downfall of one of the best-respected executives in the computer business, the millionaire boss of Hewlett-Packard, Mark Hurd, in a sex-and-expenses scandal that wiped $10bn (£6.3bn) from the stock market value of the company.

Ms Fisher has now come forward to say she is the woman who accused the married father-of-two of sexual harassment, after he wined and dined her repeatedly on the company's expenses, but she says she is shocked as anyone at his resignation. "I was surprised and saddened that Mark Hurd lost his job over this. That was never my intention."

With the tech industry agog, it was quickly clear why Ms Fisher proved so alluring. Her film credits include soft-core porn titles such as Intimate Obsession and Body of Influence 2, but most recently she was on primetime NBC as a self-described "cougar"attempting to win the affections of Mark Philipoussis, the tennis ace they nicknamed the Scud for his strong serve. The show, Age of Love, was not a hit – and Ms Fisher was first to be ejected – but far from Hollywood, the actress found other avenues for her talents.

She was hired by Mr Hurd to act as a "corporate hostess" to schmooze with clients at special HP events. When the sexual harassment claim landed with the board, its investigation quickly discovered that the married father of two had developed an inappropriately close relationship with the contractor and – worse – discovered that he had been misrepresenting his dinners with her on his expenses claims.

The board told him he had to go, and on Friday night, in a public statement long on regret and short on details, he shocked HP shareholders with a resignation statement that sheepishly admitted to "instances in which I did not live up to the standards and principles of trust, respect and integrity that I have espoused at HP".

That has sparked a firestorm of speculation and spinning that only intensified when Ms Fisher went public on Sunday, through her lawyer, the Hollywood powerbroker Gloria Allred, who just last year had represented two of the women accused of having affairs with golfer Tiger Woods.

Ms Allred said her client had settled the sexual harassment claims privately, without giving details, and denied the relationship had ever been sexual.

"I first met Mark in 2007 when I interviewed for a contractor job at the company," Ms Fisher said. "At HP, I was under contract to work at high-level customer and executive summit events held around the country and abroad. I prepared for those events, worked very hard and enjoyed working for HP."

For Ms Allred, the revelations have been an opportunity to highlight her client's eclectic career. "Ms Fisher is a single mom focused on raising her young son. She has a degree in Political Science and was recently the vice- president of a commercial real estate company. She formerly worked on the House Select Committee on Narcotics Abuse and Control. She has also been a successful salesperson for a Fortune 500 company and has been in various television shows and films, some of which were R-rated when she was in her 30's."

For Mr Hurd, he walks away from HP with a $28m pay-off from one of the best-paying jobs in the industry, but with his reputation in tatters. "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," he said on Friday.

Hurd had built a reputation as a details man who had turned HP around to win the title of best-selling computer maker on the planet in five years at the helm. Investors, fretting about his loss, sent HP shares down 10 per cent in the aftermath of his resignation.

For Ms Fisher, at 50, her career may suddenly only be beginning. Now, though, she is refusing to add any more comment, except this: "I wish Mark, his family and HP the best."

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
sportSo, how closely were you paying attention during 2014?
Arts and Entertainment
Dennis speaks to his French teacher
tvThe Boy in the Dress, TV review
One father who couldn't get One Direction tickets for his daughters phoned in a fake bomb threat and served eight months in a federal prison
people... (and one very unlucky giraffe)
Arts and Entertainment
Joel Edgerton, John Turturro and Christian Bale in Exodus: Gods and Kings
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
Arts and Entertainment
The Plaza Theatre in Atlanta, Georgia was one of the 300 US cinemas screening
filmTim Walker settles down to watch the controversial gross-out satire
Arts and Entertainment
Amy Adams and Christoph Waltz in Tim Burton's Big Eyes
film reviewThis is Tim Burton’s most intimate and subtle film for a decade
Life and Style
Mark's crab tarts are just the right size
food + drinkMark Hix cooks up some snacks that pack a punch
Arts and Entertainment
Jack O'Connell stars as Louis Zamperini in Angelina Jolie's Unbroken
film review... even if Jack O'Connell is excellent
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Selby Jennings: VP/SVP Credit Quant- NY- Investment Bank

Not specified: Selby Jennings: VP/SVP Credit Quant Top tier investment bank i...

Selby Jennings: Quantitative Research | Equity | New York

Not specified: Selby Jennings: Quantitative Research | Global Equity | New Yor...

Selby Jennings: SVP Model Validation

Not specified: Selby Jennings: SVP Model Validation This top tiered investment...

Selby Jennings: Oil Operations

Highly Competitive: Selby Jennings: Our client, a leading European Oil trading...

Day In a Page

Aren’t you glad you didn’t say that? The worst wince-and-look-away quotes of the year

Aren’t you glad you didn’t say that?

The worst wince-and-look-away quotes of the year
Hollande's vanity project is on a high-speed track to the middle of nowhere

Vanity project on a high-speed track to nowhere

France’s TGV network has become mired in controversy
Sports Quiz of the Year

Sports Quiz of the Year

So, how closely were you paying attention during 2014?
Alexander Armstrong on insulting Mary Berry, his love of 'Bargain Hunt', and life as a llama farmer

Alexander Armstrong on insulting Mary Berry and his love of 'Bargain Hunt'

From Armstrong and Miller to Pointless
Sanchez helps Gunners hold on after Giroud's moment of madness

Sanchez helps Gunners hold on

Olivier Giroud's moment of madness nearly costs them
A Christmas without hope: Fears grow in Gaza that the conflict with Israel will soon reignite

Christmas without hope

Gaza fears grow that conflict with Israel will soon reignite
After 150 years, you can finally visit the grisliest museum in the country

The 'Black Museum'

After 150 years, you can finally visit Britain's grisliest museum
No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

Doctor Who Christmas Special TV review
Chilly Christmas: Swimmers take festive dip for charity

Chilly Christmas

Swimmers dive into freezing British waters for charity
Veterans' hostel 'overwhelmed by kindness' for festive dinner

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect