November 6, 2010 / 1:48 AM / 7 years ago

Contractor alleged Hurd divulged EDS plan: source

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - A former Hewlett-Packard Co contractor once claimed Mark Hurd divulged details about HP’s plans to acquire Electronic Data Systems Corp before the deal was announced in 2008, a source familiar with the matter said on Friday. A spokesman for Hurd denied the allegation.

Jodie Fisher, the contractor at the center of the controversy that led to Hurd’s ouster as CEO of HP on August 6, made the allegation in the same June 24 letter in which she accused him of sexually harassing her, the source said.

But a spokesman for Hurd said on Friday there was “absolutely nothing” to Fisher’s allegation about EDS.

The allegation was first reported by the Wall Street Journal, citing people familiar with the situation.

When it announced Hurd’s resignation, HP said it found no evidence of sexual harassment. HP accused Hurd of filing inaccurate expense reports to conceal a “close personal relationship,” although Hurd’s representatives have disputed that.

But Fisher’s June 24 letter has never been made public, and HP has never made any mention of the EDS allegation.

In that letter, Fisher claimed Hurd told her HP planned to buy EDS before the company announced the $13.9 billion agreement in May of 2008, the source said.

A spokeswoman for HP declined to comment.

Gloria Allred, Fisher’s attorney, had no comment and said Fisher would not comment.

Fisher settled with Hurd shortly before HP announced his resignation on August 6.

Following that settlement, Fisher sent a letter to Hurd, a copy of which was obtained by Reuters, that read: “There are many inaccuracies in the details of the June 24, 2010 letter. I do not believe that any of your behavior was detrimental to HP or in any way injured the company or its reputation.”

Fisher worked as a contractor for HP from 2007 to 2009, helping to plan and host events for the office of the CEO.

Hurd was hired by Oracle Corp as president a month after resigning from HP.

Oracle also declined to comment on Friday.

Reporting by Gabriel Madway and Jim Finkle; Editing by Gary Hill

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