Well, the letter that ended Mark Hurd’s tenure as CEO of HP has finally been published, thanks to AllThingsD, and the seedy allegations of Hurd’s relationship with former Playboy model and B Movie actress Jodie Fisher are now public.
The disclosure has given new life to a scandal that had faded somewhat since Hurd’s hasty ouster back in August, 2010.
The letter was written by Fisher’s lawyer, Gloria Allred, before Hurd had settled the harassment allegations, and before he’d stepped down as CEO of HP and resurfaced at Oracle. It gives an insight into the flashy lifestyle of a top technology executive and the high-rolling trappings of those who associate with them. Fisher was allegedly paid $5,000 per night for appearances at HP customer events. She was flown first-class to cities such as Madrid, Atlanta, and St Louis, and put up at the Ritz-Carlton.
All the while, her lawyer claims, Hurd was on the make.
Oracle says the letter was “recanted by Ms. Fisher,” who “admitted it was full of inaccuracies.” But if the pickup techniques alleged in it are true, Hurd definitely gets a spot as the coiner of a few of the top tech pickup moves of all time.
Technique: Come Up to My Room and Check Out My Madame Wu Yi Dox
According to Allred’s letter, that’s what it took to get Jodie Fisher to come up to Hurd’s hotel room at the Ritz-Carlton Atlanta, the night after she hosted the first of her executive summits with HP. Fisher’s lawyer describes the night as a series of clumsy passes that left her client feeling “tired, irritated and depressed, sad, and mad with the glowing unbending realization that her great job had some major strings attached.” There’s no mention of what she thought of the documents.
It’s hard to imagine anyone saying no to the old Madame Wu Yi document gambit. Fisher kept working for Hurd and HP for two years after this incident.
Technique: Baby You Can Drive My Car
In 1991, Larry Ellison was riding an elevator with Adelyn Lee, an Oracle staffer. She said something about his Ferrari, and then, to clarify, sent him a follow-up email, saying she wanted a ride in his car. She didn’t want the car itself.
Ellison responded, via email, offering her a “turn at the wheel,” the San Francisco Chronicle reports.
The relationship lasted a few years, but it didn’t end well. Lee was fired from Oracle and later convicted of perjury for logging into Oracle’s email server and writing a fake email that made it look as if Ellison had called for her termination.
Technique: The Schedulator
We know that these CEOs are overscheduled like crazy, but it’s probably best not to play that up when asking for a first date. That’s what Bill Gates learned when he asked future wife, Melinda French, out back in 1989.
They’d hit it off a few months earlier at a trade show dinner, and when Gates ran into French in the Microsoft parking lot, he said that he’d like to go out on a date — two weeks later. “She said, ‘ask me nearer the time,’” the Independent reports.
He did, and the relationship worked out, despite that initial awkwardness.
Technique: The Raffle Riff
Steve Jobs may have been hard on many people, but when it came to his future wife Laurene Powell, he was polished class. He met her after giving a 1989 lecture at the Stanford Business School, where she was a graduate student. On meeting Jobs, she joked that she was only there because she’d won a raffle. When she left, Jobs scrambled to catch up with her and asked her out in the parking lot, riffing on her earlier joke. This according to Walter Isaacson’s book, Steve Jobs.
Their relationship lasted until Jobs’s death earlier this year.
Technique: The One Million Dollar Man
Spurned by Fisher, Hurd kept pressing, according to her lawyer’s letter. He allegedly bragged about all the women who were into him, including Sheryl Crow, and then — in what seems like a bit of a Hail Mary — he stopped by a Madrid ATM, “and showed her that your checking account balance was over a million dollars in order to impress her.”
A million dollars? Never mind that, the impressive thing is that Hurd could get a Spanish ATM to report his US account balance at all.