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Technology's 8 most notorious CEO scandals

HP's CEO Mark Hurd isn't the first forced to resign

Following the announcement last week that Mark Hurd, CEO of HP, was forced to resign over a sex scandal, we look at tech's most notorious CEOs and just what they did to be given the chop.

The tech industry couldn't hide its surprise last week when HP chief Mark Hurd resigned.

Hurd's move came after a sexual harassment charge against him was disclosed. However, Hurd is just the latest in a long line of tech CEOs forced to resign due to scandal.

It's actually been a bit quiet on the tech CEO scandal front of late, whereas the early and mid-2000s were full of apologies and resignations in light of various financial crimes, with insider trading and backdating of stock options being all the rage.

Here's a rundown of the most notorious cases:

Bernard Ebbers, WorldCom CEO

Ebbers, the so-called 'Telecom Cowboy' who famously built what became the second largest long distance company in the US through a series of acquisitions (including that of MCI and that almost included Sprint), resigned in April of 2002 amidst a financial scandal that resulted in the shamed executive going to prison.

Ebbers, who started in business running a chain of motels in Mississippi, was convicted of falsely inflating the carrier's revenue and stock price. At the age of 65, Ebbers reported to the Oakdale Federal Correction Complex in Louisiana to serve a 25 year sentence for his role in WorldCom's $11bn accounting scandal.

John Rigas, Adelphia CEO

Rigas was one of the founders in 1952 of Adelphia, which became one of the largest cable companies in the US and a growing player in telecommunications before its bankruptcy filing in 2002.

Rigas resigned as CEO in 2002 after being charged with security violations that wound up taking down what had grown from a successful family business into a public company way over its management team's head. During court proceedings, details emerged of how the company made up numbers to give to investors and lenders (and hid $2.3bn in debts) while spending lavishly on cars and personal services. Not only did Rigas wind up going to jail for his crimes, but so did son Timothy, who had been Adelphia's CFO.

Time Warner Cable and Comcast wound up with much of Adelphia's assets.

Robert McCormick, Savvis CEO

CEO Robert McCormick resigned in late 2005 after American Express filed suit claiming it was owed money stemming from a $241,000 bill McCormick allegedly rung up at the New York topless club Scores about two years before. Savvis said at the time it investigated the matter and that McCormick "did not submit the charges in question to Savvis for reimbursement and that Savvis has not made any payment to American Express related to the charges."

A negotiated settlement was announced by the parties in 2006. While McCormick's issue paled in comparison to others on this list, the nature of it earned him disproportionate attention.

NEXT PAGE: More CEO scandals

  1. Hurd isn't the first tech chief forced to resign
  2. More CEO scandals

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