By Gabriel Madway
SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Hewlett-Packard Co
said it has received an "extremely supportive" response from
investors and customers following the surprising ouster of
Chief Executive Mark Hurd for expense account irregularities.
Chief Financial Officer and interim CEO Cathie Lesjak
Sunday acknowledged Hurd's contribution to HP's success, but
said investors understood why HP acted, and that the company's
management team was strong.
"The reassurance comes from understanding why we took the
action that we took ... and then making sure that they
understood that one thing changed in this company on Friday and
that was the CEO left," Lesjak said on a conference call.
"The rest of the company has not changed," she said.
The world's No. 1 computer maker shocked Wall Street
Friday by announcing Hurd's resignation, accusing him of
falsifying expense reports to conceal a "close personal
relationship" with a female contractor.
Hurd was one of the most widely admired CEOs in the world,
credited by many with reviving HP's fortunes after he took the
reins of the company in 2005. Its shares fell 10 percent in
extended trading Friday, after the announcement of Hurd's
resignation was made.
Lesjak said HP has been transparent on the circumstances
surrounding Hurd's departure, but declined to comment further
on the matter.
Sources close to Hurd's camp have disputed HP's account of
events. Hurd has reached a legal settlement with the woman who
accused him of sexual harassment, and she has also agreed to
release HP from legal claims, according to sources familiar
with the matter.
Lesjak, who has taken herself out of consideration for the
CEO job, said the board search committee was moving swiftly to
identify a new leader for HP.
Chief Technology Officer Shane Robison said the change will
not affect the roll-out of new products. HP recently acquired
both network equipment maker 3Com and smartphone maker Palm.
(Reporting by Gabriel Madway; Editing by Maureen Bavdek)