Hurd quits Hewlett-Packard after expenses scandal – and gets $12m payout

Mark Hurd, chief executive of Hewlett-Packard, has left the company after allegedly falsifying documents in order to conceal his relationship with a former contractor and to help her get paid for work she didn't do.

He will get a $12.2m (£7.8m) severance payment.

The company, the world's largest maker of personal computers and printers, said it learnt about the relationship several weeks ago when the woman, who did marketing work for HP, accused Mr Hurd, 53, and the company of sexual harassment.

An investigation found Mr Hurd did falsify expense reports and other financial documents to conceal the relationship, but that HP's sexual harassment policy had not been violated. Mr Hurd's "systematic pattern" of submitting falsified financial reports to hide the relationship convinced the board "it would be impossible for him to be an effective leader and that he had to step down," HP's general counsel, Michael Holston, said.

Mr Holston said the inaccuracies related only to personal expenses. Los Angeles attorney Gloria Allred, representing the woman, said that "there was no affair and no intimate sexual relationship" between her client and Mr Hurd. The woman apparently worked as a host for more than a dozen events that Mr Hurd attended from 2007 to 2009. The disputed expenses range from $1,000 to $20,000 for travel, lodging and meals. Mr Hurd reportedly insists they were legitimate but is understood to have offered to repay them.

HP's chief financial officer, Cathie Lesjak, 51, was named interim CEO. However, she has taken herself out of the running to fill the position on a permanent basis.