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Ouster of HP CEO compared to when 'idiots' at Apple fired Steve Jobs

post #1 of 61
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Oracle Chief Executive Larry Ellison this week compared the ouster of HP CEO Mark Hurd to when Steve Jobs was run out of the company he founded -- Apple -- in the 1980s by "idiots" on the board of directors.

Hurd resigned from his position with the world's largest PC maker last Friday, after an investigation into sexual harassment claims found that the company's standards of business conduct were violated. HP's board of directors reportedly ousted Hurd based in part on the advice of a public relations specialist, who felt that the sexual harassment complaint could embarrass the company. The company's internal investigation also found alleged expense account irregularities.

This week, The New York Times reached out to Ellison, a personal friend of Hurd's, for comment. Responding in a passionate e-mail, he compared Hurd's exit to when Jobs was kicked out of Apple in 1985.

"The HP board just made the worst personnel decision since the idiots on the Apple board fired Steve Jobs many years ago," Ellison wrote. "That decision nearly destroyed Apple and would have if Steve hadn't come back and saved them."

Jobs, of course, returned to Apple in 1997, when the company purchased NeXT, of which he was then CEO. He took over the company he co-founded when it was near-death, and in the years since found great success, earning him the title CEO of the Decade from Fortune.

As for Hurd and HP, the former CEO oversaw a period of great success for the computer maker, as the company was consistently the top selling PC maker both domestically and worldwide. In the June quarter, HP commanded a 25.7 percent market share in the U.S. on sales of 4.7 million PCs. Its sales grew 14.2 percent year over year.

Hurd temporarily took over as the head of HP in 2005 as the interim CEO. Then, in 2006, he took the position full-time after the previous chief executive, Patricia Dunn, resigned. Dunn stepped down after it was revealed she had authorized a team of independent security experts to investigate board members and journalists over an information leak that revealed the company's long-term strategy.

"In losing Mark Hurd, the HP board failed to act in the best interest of HP's employees, shareholders, customers and partners," Ellison wrote to the Times. "The HP board admits that it fully investigated the sexual harassment claims against Mark and found them to be utterly false."
post #2 of 61
I tell you companies are not taking any chances these days..
post #3 of 61
Steve didn't committ sexual harassment, there's a huge difference. His ouster years ago was nothing more than a power grab..
post #4 of 61
Quote:
Originally Posted by Wurm5150 View Post

Steve didn't committ sexual harassment, there's a huge difference. His ouster years ago was nothing more than a power grab..

From what I've read HP reviewed the issue and found that it was baseless.
post #5 of 61
Quote:
Originally Posted by Wurm5150 View Post

Steve didn't committ sexual harassment, there's a huge difference. His ouster years ago was nothing more than a power grab..

The sad thing is that I don't think a lot of these powerful CEO types think that's a a fireable offense.
post #6 of 61
Like HP's been doing anything remotely interesting.
post #7 of 61
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

... "The HP board admits that it fully investigated the sexual harassment claims against Mark and found them to be utterly false."

I'm not totally disagreeing with his point of view, but I think this statement from Elison is wrong isn't it? He didn't have sex with the woman or have "intimate personal relations," as the woman says, but he did violate a lot of rules and he did lie about it after the fact. He also did pay her money and use her "inappropriately," and she is a sort of "good-time girl."

Larry Elison is no saint and he's probably just lashing out after his friend got caught doing something.

Personally, I don't care anyway because HP is where good products go to die as far as I've ever seen.
post #8 of 61
Quote:
Originally Posted by Wurm5150 View Post

Steve didn't committ sexual harassment, there's a huge difference. His ouster years ago was nothing more than a power grab..

That kind of sounds like a form of sexual harassment...
post #9 of 61
If I was an HP shareholder I'd be peeved at the board. They're spending $40 million to punish Hurd for a $20,000 mis-use of funds, and the "sexual harassment" claim sounds highly dubious.

I have a conspiracy theory (which I don't believe, but it's fun to theorize) that Microsoft is behind this as punishment for Hurd favoring WebOS over Windows 7 in upcoming alleged products.
post #10 of 61
Quote:
Originally Posted by Blastdoor View Post

I have a conspiracy theory (which I don't believe, but it's fun to theorize) that Microsoft is behind this as punishment for Hurd favoring WebOS over Windows 7 in upcoming alleged products.

For conspiracy theories to be worth airing, even if you don't believe it, it should at least have a modicum of plausibility, don't you think?
post #11 of 61
Quote:
Originally Posted by hittrj01 View Post

The sad thing is that I don't think a lot of these powerful CEO types think that's a a fireable offense.

Why should they? The President of the United States got away with it, why shouldn't they?


(I realize that Monica L allegedly voluntarily got involved with Clinton, but in a large company with reasonable standards, that would not be sufficient. A CEO having sex with an intern would be classified as inappropriate - and probably sexual harassment.)
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post #12 of 61
So does this mean that HP will be in steady decline until 2020 when he'll be begged to return then single-handedly transform an almost dead company into the world's most successful device and media brand?
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post #13 of 61
Perhaps they could have done something less severe than firing him, after all Job One is to make money for the shareholders. It's hard enough to find someone capable of running such a massive organisation without demanding that they also be a saint. Yes there have to be limits of course, but the standard can't be perfection (unless the organisation is a monastery but that's a special case).
post #14 of 61
Business people on boards of big corporations should learn not to confuse personal affairs with business. Yes some of affairs conflict, but image of a person whao actually did not do wrong should be protected despite bad ppublicity driven by media fools and paparazis.


Sorry to say this, but I find it idiotic if a business person on any level gets into details of sexual or social life of other professional... and what's more I do not tolerate that leaving from such place if confrontation does not bring result. Business is not family and never will be so put into socks claims like: "we are family". We are not!... and better be this way. That's business. What happens after hours is none of company business even if some feel this way.

One needs to learn where the context switch is.
post #15 of 61
Wow, it's not like Ellison to be outspoken!
post #16 of 61
I personally don't care who has sex with who as long as they have not broken the law involving under-age persons. The woman that received a settlement has been doing interviews and who knows may be able to stretch her 15 minutes into a reality show.
post #17 of 61
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

"The HP board just made the worst personnel decision since the idiots on the Apple board fired Steve Jobs many years ago," Ellison wrote. "That decision nearly destroyed Apple and would have if Steve hadn't come back and saved them."

HP Staff has made major poor decisions before. One of them thought that a small computer wouldn't go anywhere and allowed one of their engineers to go off and start his own company.

That engineer is named Steve Wozniak, and with partner Steve Jobs, they started in January 1977 what would become Apple, Inc. (a month before the company for whom I work started).

In the middle of Stagflation and a Recession, what a time to start a company...
post #18 of 61
Quote:
Originally Posted by Quadra 610 View Post

Like HP's been doing anything remotely interesting.

they just bought palm
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post #19 of 61
Actually, the idiots here are the morons that like to use hindsight and say it was a mistake to fire Steve Jobs back in the day because of how well Apple is doing now.

The fact is Jobs made a lot of mistakes and learned a lot between the time he was fired and then rehired at Apple. The decision to let him go at the time was the correct one.

-kpluck

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post #20 of 61
Quote:
Originally Posted by Prof. Peabody View Post

... Larry Elison is no saint and he's probably just lashing out after his friend got caught doing something. ...

Larry Ellison is an interesting personality. He clearly believes in Great Men, considering himself one, Steve Jobs another, perhaps Hurd, as well. He has at times what seems like strong principles and a clearly defined sense of right and wrong (e.g., his actions to wrest the America's Cup from Alinghi after they attempted to set up a sham Challenger of Record and rig the rules in their favor, and subsequent actions to insure fair play for the next round of Cup challenges.), yet, at other times, and particularly in Oracle's business dealings, he seems outright dishonest (e.g., claiming that their software already includes some feature and giving a presentation on it where the 'screenshots' are clearly hastily mocked-up UIs where fields and field labels don't even line up properly). I don't really see this as a lashing out, but rather him expressing his genuine sense of outrage that the HP board has done something stupid, maybe because he does a lot of business with HP and thinks they'll muck that up, maybe just because he thinks it's truly stupid of them to get rid of a guy whom the company has done very well under. The latter would fit in with his Great Men view of the world, and he probably is worried they'll muck up his business dealings now, so probably a combination of personal outrage and business concerns on his part.
post #21 of 61
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

Hurd temporarily took over as the head of HP in 2005 as the interim CEO. Then, in 2006, he took the position full-time after the previous chief executive, Patricia Dunn, resigned. Dunn stepped down after it was revealed she had authorized a team of independent security experts to investigate board members and journalists over an information leak that revealed the company's long-term strategy.

This is wrong. It was Carly Fiorina who started the investigation of HP Board members. It was more than a simple investigation - there was spying and wiretapping involved. Dunn continued Fiorina's investigation, and was the one in charge when it was made public.
post #22 of 61
Quote:
Originally Posted by kpluck View Post

Actually, the idiots here are the morons that like to use hindsight and say it was a mistake to fire Steve Jobs back in the day because of how well Apple is doing now.

The fact is Jobs made a lot of mistakes and learned a lot between the time he was fired and then rehired at Apple. The decision to let him go at the time was the correct one.

No, maybe it looked to Apple's board like the correct decision at the time, but, in hindsight, it actually appears a huge mistake, not because of how well Apple has done since his return, but because of how poorly they executed after his departure. The entire Mac platform languished for years under Scully, Spindler & Amelio. With no real driving vision from these men, no real change or advancement other than the plodding incremental improvements that are Apple's history in that period took place. At the same time, SJ was hard at work on the very projects that saved Apple from itself, projects that he would have been able to pursue, and would have pursued, even more fruitfully had he still been running Apple. He may have made a lot of mistakes, but he also did a lot of brilliant things, and on balance, the brilliant things he's done have been far more important than the mistakes he's made. We'll never know where the Mac, and computing generally, would be today if SJ had not been ousted from Apple, but it's utter folly to think that they did better in the years without SJ than they would have done with him.
post #23 of 61
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

As for Hurd and HP, the former CEO oversaw a period of great success for the computer maker, as the company was consistently the top selling PC maker both domestically and worldwide. In the June quarter, HP commanded a 25.7 percent market share in the U.S. on sales of 4.7 million PCs. Its sales grew 14.2 percent year over year.

HP's large market share is due more to its acquisition of Compaq, which was carried out under Fiorina, than anything Hurd did as CEO.
post #24 of 61
For years I bought the "only idiots could have ousted Steve Jobs from Apple" theory -- hook, line and sinker. Now, I'm reassessing that, and I think history will do so also. Oh, don't get me wrong. I do believe that Steve Jobs is a creative and marketing genius, and he clearly has the classic physical and mental traits of a world-class CEO: fast on his feet, high energy, etc. He is, however, less out-of-the-box in his thinking and far more dismissive in his thinking about his customers when he is comfortable in his position. I think this is why we have seen such a dramatic change in the man's philosophy of life and business as he has become exceedingly wealthy. The simply truth of the matter is, Steve Jobs does his best work when he is not only faced with a huge, indeed almost insurmountable, challenge, but when he is also in a personally insecure position. When he is the top dog, in a position of authority and strength, not so much. As for other factors that may qualify the HP situation as comparable, I can't comment.
post #25 of 61
I say let Paul Rubenstein from Palm take over HP. He has vision and the competition will only make Apple better. Web OS is a great product and could be used to propel HP beyond just another Win PC maker.
post #26 of 61
For $40,000,000 ... you can fire my ass all day long.
post #27 of 61
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

"The HP board just made the worst personnel decision since the idiots on the Apple board fired Steve Jobs many years ago," Ellison wrote. "That decision nearly destroyed Apple and would have if Steve hadn't come back and saved them."

I would say that the hiring of Carly Fiorina would trump this on the list of HP mistakes.
post #28 of 61
Quote:
Originally Posted by WPLJ42 View Post

For $40,000,000 ... you can fire my ass all day long.

How about we call it 'even' if I fire you and give you twenty bucks?

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post #29 of 61
Larry Ellison is just projecting his own sense of self-importance onto Steve Jobs and Mark Hurd. In the case of Jobs, this is partly justified. But Mark Hurd? He strikes me as nothing more than another 'entitled' CEO who made a killing by acquiring companies and laying off thousands of employees. The people I know who work for HP currently, or have left HP recently, have nothing good to say about the last two CEO's. Larry Ellison, never one to keep his ego in check, is taking this personally which is a clear sign of an inflamed ego...
post #30 of 61
As a former employee, and a current shareholder, my guess is that Ellison is the idiot. Hurd has not done anything miraculous to "save H-P". any Bozo can walk into a company and fire tens of thousands of employees and gloat over how much money they saved the company.

Mark Hurd launching a massive layoff program of primarily the U.S. employees is nothing special in this day and age, he can't claim that as a special skill, and in the long run history will show that it was nothing more than the equivalent of throwing people off a sinking ship and claiming victory.

To continue using Ellison's comparison with Steve Jobs, its very easy to look back and see that Steve's departure was nothing more than a power struggle (no way that two alpha-males could run Apple at the same time, one had to go before the company collapsed). Steve never stole money from the company and he never embarrassed the company with an affair with a beautiful actress, nor did he set the company up to be potentially liable in a public sexual harassment lawsuit. Its just not the same thing Larry.

Comparing Jobs and Hurd we see that Jobs has in the past decade taken Apple from the brink and turned it into the world leading, most admired, most innovative personal electronics company of the past decade. What has Hurd done that has propelled H-P forward in a similar manner? Nothing. There has been no ground breaking innovation, no new class of consumer products, no must-have technologies, no paradigm shifts, only a rehash of the same things that have been done before.

Sorry Larry, but this time it looks like you are the one that's way off base.

I'm sure the Board of Directors took this situation very seriously and took the appropriate action that had the minimum negative impact on the company. If the Board were made up of idiots then they would have let Hurd talk his way out of this mess. I applaud the Board for having the guts to stand up to a thief and a philanderer, despite the bad light it would shed o the company (they could have paid off the actress to keep her mouth shut and we would have been none the wiser, but instead they took the high road.

My actual guess is that the board didn't care about the affair he had with that actress, he probably got sacked for improper expenditures, that a woman was involved just made it worse but was not the actual primary offense (lets face it, most of these companies now only care about cash flow and have no discernible morality otherwise).

Should we care if a CEO of this Fortune 10 company has an affair? Yes of course we should. These guys are running public companies (H-P is listed on the stock market so they are publicly held), this is not a private company and what he does actually is our business. Also, its pretty obvious that if this guy is willing to steal money from the company and conspire with his mistress to funnel her the cash that he is not ethical and should not be running a public company. Leaving an unethical person at the helm of a public company is just an invitation for more problems because he has already demonstrated a severe lack of judgement.
post #31 of 61
Quote:
Originally Posted by SpamSandwich View Post

How about we call it 'even' if I fire you and give you twenty bucks?

Can I get Fries with that?
post #32 of 61
As a former employee, and a current shareholder, my guess is that Ellison is the idiot. Hurd has not done anything miraculous to "save H-P". any Bozo can walk into a company and fire tens of thousands of employees and gloat over how much money the saved the company.

Mark Hurd launching a massive layoff program of primarily the U.S. employees is nothing special in this day and age, and in the long run history will show that it was nothing more than the equivalent of throwing people off a sinking ship and claiming victory.

To continue using Ellison's comparison with Steve Jobs, its very easy to look back and see that Steve's departure was nothing more than a power struggle (no way two alpha males could run Apple at the same time, one had to go). Steve never stole money from the company and he never embarrassed the company with an affair with a beautiful actress, nor did he set the company up to be potentially liable in a public sexual harassment lawsuit.

So looking at Jobs and Hurd we see that Jobs has in the past decade taken Apple from the brink and turned it into the world leading, most admired, most innovative personal electronics company of the past decade. What has Hurd done that has propelled H-P forward in a similar manner? Nothing. There has been no ground breaking innovation, no new class of consumer products, no must-have technologies, only a rehash of the same thing that has been done before.

Sorry Larry, but this time it looks like you are the one that's way off base.

I'm sure the Board of Directors took this situation very seriously and took the appropriate action that had the minimum negative impact on the company. If the Board were made up of idiots then they would have let Hurd talk his way out of this mess. I applaud the Board for having the guts to stand up to a thief and a philanderer, despite the bad light it would shed o the company (they could have paid off the actress to keep her mouth shut and we would have been none the wiser, but instead they took the high road.

My actual guess is that the board didn't care about the affair he had with that actress, he probably got sacked for improper expenditures, that a woman was involved just made it worse but was not the actual primary offense (lets face it, most of these companies now only care about cash flow and have no discernible morality otherwise).

Should we care if a CEO of this Fortune 10 company has an affair? Yes of course we should. These guys are running public companies (H-P is listed on the stock market so they are publicly held), this is not a private company and what he does actually is our business. Also, its pretty obvious that if this guy is willing to steal money from the company and conspire with his mistress to funnel her the cash that he is not ethical and should not be running a public company. Leaving an unethical person at the helm of a public company is just an invitation for more problems because he has already demonstrated a severe lack of judgement.
post #33 of 61
Why don't they just get Jon Rubinstein to take over? He's had plenty of experience at working at computer companies....
post #34 of 61
this clearly demonstrates on of the major weaknesses of publicly traded companies. The voters/stockholders often make silly, uninformed decisions.
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post #35 of 61
I disagree with the comparison. HP's board were scared and stupid for letting go a great CEO. Apple was smart, in some ways, to let Jobs go and it took some balls to pull the trigger on the founder.

You think he's arrogant now, I think getting fired from Apple and the struggles with NeXT due to their inability to enter the consumer market not only made Jobs a great CEO but curtailed some of his hubris. I'm not sure that would have happened had he been able to stay with Apple.

PS: Am I the only one who sees a "CE world" comparison between Jobs and the protagonist in Hesse's Siddharta?
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post #36 of 61
Quote:
Originally Posted by anonymoose View Post

snip...

Should we care if a CEO of this Fortune 10 company has an affair? Yes of course we should. These guys are running public companies (H-P is listed on the stock market so they are publicly held), this is not a private company and what he does actually is our business. Also, its pretty obvious that if this guy is willing to steal money from the company and conspire with his mistress to funnel her the cash that he is not ethical and should not be running a public company. Leaving an unethical person at the helm of a public company is just an invitation for more problems because he has already demonstrated a severe lack of judgement.

Good grief. If he truly has done an outstanding job turning the company around as an employee, shareholder or consumer I don't care if he had a mistress. As to expenses, he can afford to pay. Make him pay it back and move on.

Cheers,
post #37 of 61
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

You think he's arrogant now, I think getting fired from Apple and the struggles with NeXT due to their inability to enter the consumer market not only made Jobs a great CEO but curtailed some of his hubris. I'm not sure that would have happened had he been able to stay with Apple.

Yeah I personally think the smartest move Apple did was fire Jobs in '85. This gave Steve Jobs the time to breath. Start NeXT, acquire Pixar, leave NeXT and have the foundation for what Apple is today. Without Steve's enviers with NeXT and Pixar we would not have what we have today. I firmly believe Mac OS X was the main saving grace for Apple. Without it we would not have the stable hardware (including the iPhone) platform we have today.
post #38 of 61
I was at first shocked the Board let him go, but after you look at the circumstances, it makes perfect sense. Not just the affair but the lying and using expenditures un-appropriately even for just $20,000 is good reason for departure.

Especially now, when you have the SEC looking over your shoulder for anything in the books done wrong. You just can't take the chance.

And of all, you need a good CEO that represents your company, if the CEO is a liar or a cheat, do you think your employees are going to follow trust and honesty or even put faith in their leader. How can one speak of integrity to all the employees when he himself has no integrity.

Lastly, any employee that stole/used funds un-appropiately from their company even at a small amount would be fired. $20,000 is a lot more than what any other employee would be doing.

Case closed! Next CEO!
post #39 of 61
Quote:
Originally Posted by jragosta View Post

Why should they? The President of the United States got away with it, why shouldn't they?

(I realize that Monica L allegedly voluntarily got involved with Clinton, but in a large company with reasonable standards, that would not be sufficient. A CEO having sex with an intern would be classified as inappropriate - and probably sexual harassment.)

I love how you just make shit up and then pontificate about all of your inaccuracies as though you were the reincarnation of Albert Einstein.

You are completely wrong about the reason for the impeachment trial, the outcome, and the actual definition of sexual harassment.
post #40 of 61
Quote:
Originally Posted by Feynman View Post

I firmly believe Mac OS X was the main saving grace for Apple. Without it we would not have the stable hardware (including the iPhone) platform we have today.

OS X is the foundation for their most profitable HW and it's sure to grow in scale, and NeXT's WebObjects seems to run the backbone of all their financial transactions. However, I would say that Jobs' "vision" and management is the real reason for their phenomenal reemergence.
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