Hewlitt-Packard resigns after sex probe

Mark Hurd has resigned as boss of
computer giant Hewlett-Packard following a sexual harassment probe, the company

Mr Hurd stepped down from his positions
as president and CEO after an investigation into claims made against him by a
former HP contractor.

The company said its sexual harassment
policy had not been violated but its standards of business conduct were.

HP has named chief financial officer
Cathie Lesjak as its interim CEO.

‘Painful decision’

The company said: “Chief executive
officer and president Mark Hurd has decided with the board of directors to
resign his positions effective immediately.”

In a statement, Mr Hurd said he
“realised there were instances in which I did not live up to the standards
and principles of trust, respect and integrity that I have espoused at

He said: “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.”

Ms Lesjak, who has been at HP for 24
years, will continue to act as chief financial officer while the company’s
board committee searches for a new CEO.

The departure of Mr Hurd is likely to
come as a shock to investors, who have credited him with reviving HP’s fortunes
since taking over as boss five years ago.

His strategy of drastically cutting
costs, and thousands of jobs, allowed HP to overtake Dell as the biggest
manufacturer of PCs in the world in 2006.

On Friday HP issued preliminary results
for the third quarter slightly above expectations.