In what amounts to an "in your face" move toward HP, Mark Hurd has been named president of Oracle. In August, HP forced Hurd's resignation as CEO and president after an investigation into his relationship with a former actress named Jodie Fisher, who accused him of sexual harassment.
Hurd, who has also been named to Oracle's Board of Directors, will report to Oracle CEO Larry Ellison. Ellison blasted HP in a letter to the New York Times, arguing that the tech giant handled the situation in a "cowardly" way." At the time, Ellison said HP made the "worst personnel decision since the idiots on the Apple board fired Steve Jobs many years ago."
Philips Sent Packing?
Ellison has now welcomed Hurd to the number two position at the company, causing the company's shares to climb nearly 8 percent on Tuesday. By contrast, HP shares have lost 14 percent of their value since Hurd left the company. Close friends, Hurd and Ellison represent a dynamic duo on the technology company front.
"Mark did a brilliant job at HP and I expect he'll do even better at Oracle," said Oracle CEO Larry Ellison. "There is no executive in the IT world with more relevant experience than Mark. 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."
Hurd replaces Charles Philips, who resigned from Oracle and is existing the board. Ellison credited him with evolving Oracle's field culture toward a more customer-centric organization and improving its top line consistency through a period of tremendous change and growth. Ellison indicated Philips approached him last December with a desire to transition out of the company.
No Auto Slam Dunk
Charles King, principal analyst at Pund-IT, isn't so sure Philips was planning to leave the company. In any case, he said Hurd lends some muscle to Oracle's efforts around Sun Microsystems. "Oracle hasn't executed very well on defining its plans for the benefits it hopes to accrue from the Sun purchase," King said. "Hurd has the experience and the background to lend them some badly needed help."
Hurd should hit the ground running at Oracle -- and his target is Big Blue. As he sees it, Oracle's strategy of combining software with hardware will help the company Oracle to beat IBM in both enterprise servers and storage. "Exadata is just the beginning," Hurd said. "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."
But while Oracle's shares rise and HP's shares suffer in the Hurd drama, King reminded that HP's employee moral cratered to a point never before seen in company history. "Hurd is a very bright guy," King said. "He's a very gifted COO that made a remarkable transition to becoming a successful CEO, but his tenure was not without controversy and I don't think it's an automatic slam dunk."