Hewlett-Packard Co. (HPQ) dropped more than 7 percent to $42.71 for the biggest retreat in the Dow Jones Industrial Average. The world’s largest PC maker announced that Mark Hurd, chairman and CEO, resigned his post after Jodie Fisher — an HP contractor who received numerous inappropriate payments from the company — alleged that Hurd had sexually harassed her. Chief Financial Officer Cathie Lesjak, a 24-year HP veteran, will take over as CEO on an interim basis.
Hurd’s resignation was announced on Friday and has triggered another period of uncertainty at the company. Hapoalim Securities analyst Kevin Hunt noted that Hurd [via MW] “was an immensely popular CEO among investors, and we believe many long positions were based solely on his presence at H-P.” Hunt said he expects a “significant share overhang to weigh on H-P stock price until a new CEO is named.”
Hewlett-Packard fell $3.24 to $42.76 in midday trading. The shares have fallen by more than 17% year to date.