Disgraced Hurd leaves News Corp

Mark Hurd, the former chief executive of Hewlett-Packard who was ousted in a sex and expenses scandal at the computer manufacturer, has also resigned from the board of Rupert Murdoch's media giant, News Corporation.

Mr Hurd, who has been waging a concerted public relations campaign to clear his name, was not on a list of News Corp directors up for re-election at the company’s forthcoming annual meeting, which was sent to shareholders yesterday. His non-executive role at News Corp earned him $231,000, including $120,000 in company stock, in the most recent financial year, and he had served on the company’s corporate governance committee.

Shareholders were told only that “Mark Hurd, currently a director, has not been nominated for re-election to the board”. News Corp gave no reason for his departure.

Mr Hurd was forced out of his $24m-a-year job at HP after an actress hired to host corporate events accused him of sexual harassment. The board found no evidence to support that claim, and Mr Hurd settled with the actress privately, but an internal investigation did discover misleading expenses claims relating to intimate dinners that the pair had, as well as other breaches of the company’s code of professional conduct.

Since the shock departure, both Mr Hurd and the HP board having been waging a public relations battle over whether any offenses were serious enough to merit the board’s decision to ask him to quit. His friend Larry Ellison, founder of Oracle, called it “the worst personnel decision since the idiots on the Apple board fired Steve Jobs” in 1985. Mr Hurd become one of the most respected tech industry bosses after cutting costs at HP and overtaking Dell as the biggest computer maker in the US.

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