Mark Hurd

John Gapper

As the ousting of Mark Hurd as chief executive of Hewlett-Packard starts to fade from the headlines, one aspect of it lingers in my mind – the Google search.

Mr Hurd was made to resign by the HP board for allegedly breaching its business conduct rules over his relationship with Jodie Fisher, a marketing contractor to HP (and former soft pornography film actress).

The New York Times notes that:

The situation was made worse after HP discovered that Mr Hurd had viewed some of Ms Fisher’s racy acting on his work computer, signaling that he was aware of her past.

Mr. Hurd has told people that he did a brief Google search of Ms. Fisher in April or May of 2009, nearly two years after she started contract work for HP.

Well, that must send a shudder through many a corporate executive. A single Google search is a pretty flimsy piece of evidence but it is, of course, within the powers of the company to search its records in this way. Read more