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H-P's Hurd's Pay Troubling: Activist

Dell and his senior executives charged no personal use of their aircraft to its shareholders.

A later footnote in the proxy filing for Hurd's personal travel says that the first 25 hours of personal travel are included and are "grossed up." Hurd owes taxes on the value of that perk, but H-P's board has decided that HP shareholders should pay Hurd's taxes instead of Hurd.

The same footnote later says that if Hurd's spouse is "requested by H-P" to travel with Hurd, then the company "grosses up" that amount, too. The internal process that goes on in determining the company request is not described. It could be as simple as Mark Hurd leaning over and saying to his assistant: "I'd like to go play golf in Hawaii this weekend with the CEO of one of our clients on business. Can you write me a quick email saying that, on behalf of H-P, you're requesting that my wife fly with me?"

And don't forget the minor scandal the erupted last January, when blogger Michelle Leder of Footnoted noticed that H-P had "grossed up" Hurd $79,814 for taxes he paid on meals involving his family. (Ann Livermore and VJ Joshi also got "grossed up" $10,000 apiece for meals with their families.)

Michelle estimated that, to receive a "gross-up" of this amount, Hurd and his family would have had to run up food bills during the year of more than $243,000.

H-P protested, saying it had made an error in its calculations and even refiled its proxy with the SEC. Magically, Hurd's "gross-ups" for his family meals shrunk to $3,285.

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