Mark Hurd Joins Oracle – President Now, CEO Later?

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Sep 08 2010
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A month after he resigned from Hewlett-Packard Co. (NYSE: HPQ, stock) following a sexual harassment investigation, former HP CEO Mark Hurd found himself a new job – as the co-president and board member of Oracle Corp., the world’s second biggest software company behind Microsoft Corp. One of Oracle’s two presidents, Charles Phillips, a former captain in the U.S. Marine Corps who was also appointed last year to President Barack Obama’s Economic Recovery Advisory Board is resigning to make room for Hurd.

Oracle’s stock jumped as high as 7.7% after the news Mark Hurd is joining Oracle. A tennis buddy of Oracle Corp. (Nasdaq: ORCL, stock) CEO Larry Ellison, Mark had tripled HP’s profit by cutting costs and expanding beyond the company’s core business of computers and printers, spending more than US$20 billion in acquisitions. Former HP employees who were axed by Mark as part of his 50,000 job cuts during his tenure are now celebrating *grin*.

On paper the entry of Mark Hurd into Oracle’s camp is a great fit. As Oracle transitions from a software to a hardware company after its recent acquisition of Sun Microsystem for $7.4 billion, Hurd brings with him valuable experience (from HP), not to mention he ran a company three times bigger than Oracle.

 Mark Hurd Jodie Fisher

HP couldn’t find proof that Mark Hurd actually sexually harassed Jodie Fisher, a former actress (or rather softcore porn) and HP contractor, but adamant that Hurd concealed a personal relationship with his accuser. Hurd, 53, and Fisher, 50, settled her complaint out of court. Almost immediately Ellison came to Hurd’s defense and blasted HP board’s decision in disclosing the harassment claim publicly, calling it “cowardly corporate political correctness.”

While it’s true that the idiots on the Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL, stock) board made their stupidest decision in firing Steve Jobs many moons ago, it remains to be seen if Mark Hurd is another Steve Jobs that HP has fired. With the new line-ups, Oracle will have CEO Ellison in charge of engineering while Safra Catz (the other president), a former investment banker, continue running the finance, M&A and operations and Mark Hurd will be in charge of sales and marketing plus customer support – a perfect combination.

The question is whether Mark Hurd has been promised the CEO position at a later stage, a position that Catz is aiming as well? Hmm, that would be another story for another time. Now, should the Oracle employees start updating their resumes and look for new jobs since the new boss is in town? Maybe not now that market analysts are bullish about Oracle stock so the employee stock options could become very valuable.

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