A Telling Contradiction
By Roger Tauss
August 19, 2010 - 1:21pm ET
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Hewlett-Packard Co. doesn’t like unions. When workers have unions, we are told, they have contracts. And contracts interfere with a company’s ability to manage its affairs intelligently.
So along comes CEO John Hurd, he of the now-notorious sexual harassment case. He hires Ms Jodie Fisher, star of such movies as “Body of Influence II” and Intimate Obsession, as a consultant. Somewhere along the way Ms Fisher accuses him of sexual harassment and the subsequent investigation turns up the fact that Mr. Hurd who can barely survive on the $7 million he takes home each year was fiddling his expense accounts to gift shareholder money to Ms Fisher’s bank account.
Mr. Hurd is forced to retire for misappropriating shareholder wealth (I can’t help but observe that union officials guilty of misappropriating union funds go to jail but that double standard is old news.)
Mr. Hurd, on the other hand, is forced to resign, taking with him a $40 million severance package. Now here’s where it gets interesting.
The company was challenged for making a $40 million payout to a man who was essentially stealing shareholder money. Their explanation? He had a contract!
How to explain the disparity between the treatment of H-P’s CEO and its employees? Another case, I guess, of being too big to fail.
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