Correcting Mark Hurd’s full plate…

January 26, 2009

Last week, we footnoted about some odd tax gross-up disclosures in Hewlett-Packard’s (HPQ) proxy that caught our attention, simply because the $79,814 in “other tax-gross ups” and the corresponding footnote that explained that the figure “represents amounts reimbursed to the NEOs (named executive officers) for taxes on meals associated with business travel undertaken by the NEOs in connection with events to which family members were invited” was too juicy not to bite at.

Over the weekend, an HP spokeswoman contacted me with this statement: “The tax gross-up figures contained in HP’s 2009 proxy were miscalculated. The correct —other gross-up figure for Mark Hurd was $4,117 (not $79,814), which is in-line with last year’s figures. Notwithstanding this, some media outlets inaccurately extrapolated the supposed tax rate, resulting in vastly inflated and inaccurate figures for Mark’s meals. While this is not a material disclosure, we wanted to set the record straight.”

At first, HP said they didn’t plan to file an amended proxy correcting the figure. But now they apparently will. To be quite honest, it’s still not entirely clear to me how $79,814 turns into $4,117 and it seems like a pretty big oops to me. The spokeswoman wasn’t willing to go into details about the discrepancy other than to say that some numbers were counted twice. Just to put that $4,117 into perspective, the same number was $3,285 in the 2008 proxy.

Of course, given HP’s size, the numbers are not material. But the whole thing does seem a bit odd, no?

Quick update for 1/27: My laptop isn’t starting this morning for some reason and it’s too hard to type up a post on my Iphone so we won’t be posting today. Sorry!

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