The exodus of top executives of high profile technology groups continues.  Hewlett-Packard CEO Mark Hurd resigned after the sexual harassment investigation against his relationship with a female contractor found he violated the company’s business standards.

Cathie Lesjak, HP’s chief financial officer, will assume the CEO role until a permanent replacement for Mr. Hurd is found.  HP hired a law firm to investigate all the charges against Hurd.  The investigation includes the sexual harassment charges, the former CEO’s expenses, and whether the contractor provided all the services she was paid for.

Hurd admitted that “there were instances in which I did not live up to the standards and principles of trust, respect and integrity that I have espoused at H-P and which have guided me throughout my career.”

Gloria Allred, a lawyer for the woman, said that there was no affair or sexual relationship between Hurd and her client, which she declined to identify. One person familiar with the matter said the questionable expense reports totaled no more than around $20,000.

Hurd, HP’s CEO since 2005, was in talks for a three-year contract extension believed to have been valued at $100 million.  The resigned CEO’s severance agreement calls for a cash payment of $12.2 million, and other stock and bonus payouts that could bring the total to more than $35 million.

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Hewlett-Packard CEO Mark Hurd resigned after sexual harassment investigation |