California Republican Senate candidate Carly Fiorina on Tuesday declined to weigh in on the ouster of Hewlett-Packard Co. CEO Mark Hurd, her successor at the Silicon Valley company, saying she is focused on her campaign.
Hurd resigned last week after an investigation into a sexual harassment claim found that he falsified expense reports on dinners and meetings with Jodie Fisher, who helped organize HP events from 2007 to 2009 and greeted executives at the gatherings.
Hurd has settled with Fisher for an undisclosed sum, and both parties have said the relationship was not sexual. Hurd said an assistant prepared all of his expenses and has offered to reimburse HP.
Fiorina was asked about Hurd's departure Tuesday during a campaign stop at an almond plant in Sacramento. She said she was focused on trying to defeat Democratic Sen. Barbara Boxer by highlighting what she describes as Boxer's antibusiness policies.
"I've been solely focused on my own race," Fiorina said during the stop at the Blue Diamond Growers almond processing plant in Sacramento. "I can only say that I wish HP well. It is a great company with great employees."
Analysts say Hurd's severance package, estimated to be worth more than $40 million, reflects his steady leadership following Fiorina's sometimes rocky tenure. Fiorina left with a $21.1 million package after she was ousted as CEO in 2005.
Boxer's campaign noted that under Fiorina's stewardship, HP laid off 30,000 workers and shipped jobs overseas.
Fiorina's spokeswoman Andrea Saul said Fiorina is the only candidate who has created jobs, met payroll and understands how to get Californians back to work.
At least one executive has come out in defense of Hurd. Oracle's CEO Larry Ellison on Monday blasted HP's decision as an act of "cowardly corporate political correctness."
Ellison, who is a friend of Hurd, said the technology giant made the worst personnel decision since Apple forced out Steve Jobs 25 years ago.
Federal campaign fundraising reports show Ellison has donated $4,800 to Boxer's re-election campaign.
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