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Ousted HP chief may get job at Oracle

Mark Hurd could take the No. 2 spot under his longtime friend, CEO Larry Ellison.

September 06, 2010|Alex Pham and Jessica Guynn

LOS ANGELES AND SAN FRANCISCO — Mark Hurd, ousted a month ago as chief executive of Hewlett-Packard Co., is being considered for the No. 2 job at software giant Oracle Corp.

Although the details are still being finalized, Hurd is likely to join his longtime friend and sometime tennis partner Larry Ellison, the outspoken CEO of Oracle who blasted HP for the move, according to several people knowledgeable about the discussions.

In an e-mail sent to the New York Times three days after Hurd's resignation Aug. 6, Ellison called HP's move "the worst personnel decision since the idiots on the Apple board fired Steve Jobs many years ago."

Hurd had been credited with nearly doubling HP's market value to $100 billion and surpassing IBM Corp. in annual revenue during his five-year term at the Palo Alto company, the world's largest computer maker.

But his record became tarnished after a contractor working for HP accused him of sexual harassment, and the company found that some of his expense reports were inaccurate.

An investigation conducted by an outside law firm hired by HP found no evidence of sexual harassment, and Hurd reportedly settled with the contractor, Jodie Fisher. The company said it had discovered the expense-account irregularities as it was investigating the woman's sexual harassment claim.

Exactly what title Hurd would have at the software company was not disclosed. Oracle already has two presidents working under Ellison: Safra Catz and Charles Phillips.

Calls to Oracle officials and to Hurd's home in Atherton, Calif., were not returned. Hurd, who worked at NCR Corp. for 25 years before joining HP, has a reputation for being a skillful, hands-on manager with a knack for running highly efficient operations.

Since his resignation from HP, Hurd reportedly has received a number of job offers from public companies and private equity firms. As an executive who typically shuns the spotlight, Hurd is a contrast to Ellison, who is regarded in Silicon Valley as brash and flamboyant but with a keen eye for talent.

Hurd would bring to the table knowledge of running a company that makes industrial-grade computers on which Oracle's business software runs.

Oracle this year finalized its $7.4-billion acquisition of Sun Microsystems Inc., which owns the Solaris operating system that powers corporate database computers, as well as Java, a platform that runs applications on mobile devices.


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