Larry Ellison, the boss of database software giant Oracle, has put his money where his legendary mouth is and signed up ex-HP CEO Mark Hurd as one of his lieutenants. Ellison had publicly criticized the HP board for getting rid of Hurd, over what appeared to be a relatively minor matter.
There's an irony to this move. Hurd was ousted from HP amid a sexual harassment investigation brought against him. He was exonerated, but it provided sufficient ammunition for his enemies, it seems.
Hurd replaces Charles Phillips as co-president (alongside the awesomely named Safra Catz), who told Ellison he wanted to leave back on December. It may just be a coincidence, but a month later Phillips was publicly humiliated by a woman he had previously had an extended relationship with. YaVaughnie Wilkins put up billboards and created a website dedicated to their relationship.
So HP's loss looks like Oracle's gain. Hurd has unique experience in the business of combining hardware and software to create enterprise solutions. Oracle has traditionally been a software company that collaborated closely with HP in order to create these solutions. But since the acquisition of Sun, Oracle has looked increasingly more like a complete solutions provider.
Catz served as CFO for a bit, so her strengths probably lie in general administration. Hurd, who was CEO of NCR before taking the helm at HP, is likely to be the more product-centric of the two.
"There is no executive in the IT world with more relevant experience than Mark," said Ellison. "Oracle's future is engineering complete and integrated hardware and software systems for the enterprise. Mark pioneered the integration of hardware with software when Teradata was a part of NCR."
"I believe Oracle's strategy of combining software with hardware will enable Oracle to beat IBM in both enterprise servers and storage," said Hurd. "Exadata is just the beginning. We have some exciting new systems we are going to announce later this month at Oracle OpenWorld. I'm excited to be a part of the most innovative technology team in the IT industry."
The Phillips departure announcement was simultaneous. "When Charles approached me last December and expressed his desire to transition out of the company, I asked him to stay on through the Sun integration which has gone well. We will miss his talent and leadership, but I respect his decision," said Ellison.
"I want to thank Larry Ellison and the Oracle Board of Directors for the tremendous opportunity to be a part of an important and winning team for the last 29 quarters," said Phillips. "It has been an honour to work with them, Safra Catz, and the thousands of Oracle employees around the world who are committed to delivering high quality products and services to customers, and to be a part of one of the most innovative companies on the planet."