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HP chairman accuses Hurd of lying to the board

by Sarah Griffiths on 12 October 2010, 16:50

Tags: Hewlett Packard (NYSE:HPQ), Oracle (NASDAQ:ORCL)

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Pesky post

Oracle and HP have continued their squabbles exacerbated by the poaching of Mark Hurd following a scathing article by a journalist writing for The New York Times.

Business columnist Joe Nocera let rip about HP's replacement CEO, Léo Apotheker, a former top man at SAP.

He wrote: "Is it possible that the hiring of Apotheker was motivated by the board's desire to strike back at Oracle? And that, with Apotheker on board, H.P. would try to encroach on Oracle's software stronghold just as Oracle was moving into H.P.'s hardware arena? There are analysts who are convinced that was the case."

As The Wall Street Journal commented, Norcera highlighted the complex web of who has worked for who, with considerable movement of execs between the two companies. He also wrote about entangled property theft accusations the gist of which was "Don't throw stones at Hurd when you have such a dirty glass house."

Norcera wrote: "It takes your breath away, really: the same board that viewed Hurd's minor expense account shenanigans as intolerable has chosen as its new C.E.O. someone involved - however tangentially - with the most serious business crime you can commit."

The WSJ published a letter from incoming HP non-executive chairman Ray Lane (another ex Oracle employee). It said the column ‘grossly mischaracterises' why Hurd left HP and why Oracle appointed Apotheker.

It said that Oracle has been pursuing a case against SAP for ages but there has never been any evidence that Apotheker was involved.

"As for the reasons why Mr. Hurd left HP: no Board can retain a CEO who violates the trust and integrity needed to lead a public company. Even Hurd publicly acknowledged that he failed to uphold those necessary standards," Lane wrote.

In fact, Lane went as far as to accuse Hurd of misleading the HP board, which had ‘no alternative' but to sack him.

He reportedly wrote: "The bottom line is: Hurd violated the trust of the Board by repeatedly lying to them in the course of an investigation into his conduct. He violated numerous elements of HP's Standards of Business Conduct and he demonstrated a serious lack of integrity and judgment."

Lane also reaffirmed the board's confidence in its new CEO, and reportedly said: "In hiring Léo Apotheker, HP's Board turned to a principled leader of outstanding personal and professional integrity. He is an experienced, strategic thinker with the passion, global experience and operational discipline to realize our company's enormous potential. Those are the qualities HP needs in a leader to move the company forward, and Apotheker is ideally suited to do that."

HEXUS Forums :: 2 Comments

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Hmm, not impressed with the NYT article - it comes across as pretty biased and sneering - phrases like "a suave European — how many American C.E.O.’s have an accent aigu in their name?“ pretty much set the tone as far as I'm concerned.

Then you've got inconsistencies like ”after firing its chief executive, Mark V. Hurd, for playing footsie with a consultant and fudging his expense accounts“ followed later by ”so concerned that it had to get rid of Mr. Hurd, with his piddling expense account problems“. So is ”fudging" expenses serious or not? Personally, I'd regard knowingly claiming money you're not entitled to as … what's that word … oh yes - fraud! (By the way, to leap to Hurd's defence, the sexual misconduct charge was dismissed, since there was no evidence of it - another piece of NYT misreporting - the article should have made clear that it was accusations of “footsie”)

I can't help thinking that because the WSJ appears to be trying to be even-handed, that the NYT has decided to take sides. Either that or it's just sloppy journalism - maybe Hexus could loan Ms Griffiths to the NYT to show them how it should be done? :hexlub:

Okay, I'll admit to bias, I'm just about to go to my desk at HP (I'm a low ranking techie, so don't yell at me), but as the quotes that Sarah G's given say - as Hurd (pauses to spit) himself admitted - he failed to uphold the Code of Business Conduct, and given the number of offences the only recourse was to - as the 'mericans say - "fire his ass!"

Personally, I'll hold fire on judging the new guy - if he stops the continual firing of the folks that do the work, then he's fine by me. And if, in turn, this means we see some good quality, innovative products come out with that HP logo, then so much the better.

Another good article from Hexus though. :)
Hmm, not impressed with the NYT article

Check out the next story Sarah's writing on this - should be up soon…