Hurd in talks to join Oracle

Hurd in talks to join Oracle
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First Published: Wed, Sep 22 2010. 09 34 AM IST

New role: The appointment of Mark Hurd, who resigned in August as chief executive of HP, will require approval from Oracle’s board. Bloomberg
New role: The appointment of Mark Hurd, who resigned in August as chief executive of HP, will require approval from Oracle’s board. Bloomberg
Updated: Wed, Sep 22 2010. 09 34 AM IST
Mark Hurd, who resigned as the chief executive of Hewlett-Packard Co. (HP) last month, is in talks to join Oracle Corp. as a top executive, people familiar with the matter said.
New role: The appointment of Mark Hurd, who resigned in August as chief executive of HP, will require approval from Oracle’s board. Bloomberg
The exact nature of Hurd’s new job couldn’t be ascertained. The people familiar with the matter cautioned that talks weren’t complete and it was possible that Hurd’s hiring could still fall through. Oracle’s board still needs to approve any appointment, they added.
Larry Ellison, who founded Oracle more than 30 years ago and has been the company’s only chief executive officer (CEO), won’t vacate the CEO seat, one of the people said.
The move caps a wild month for Hurd, 53, who was widely considered one of corporate America’s most successful executives before he resigned from HP in early August following allegations of sexual harassment by a former marketing contractor.
An investigation by HP’s board found that Hurd did not violate the company’s policy dealing with sexual harassment, but did find that he violated HP’s code of business conduct, such as filing inaccurate expense reports. Over the course of the investigation, Hurd’s relationship with HP’s board of directors deteriorated to the point where both sides decided that it was best to separate, people familiar with the matter said.
Staying put: Oracle chief executive officer Larry Ellison. Bloomberg
If Hurd lands at Oracle, he would join a company that has increasingly been stepping on some of HP’s turf. Oracle, which makes enterprise software, is almost as profitable as HP, earning $6.1 billion (Rs28,487 crore) in its most recent fiscal compared with $7.7 billion for HP, but has only about one quarter the revenue and one third the employees. The company has expanded its portfolio of software products through a string of acquisitions in recent years. In January, Oracle finalized its $7.4 billion purchase of hardware maker Sun Microsystems Inc., moving it into the server and storage-systems business for the first time.
Hurd has broad experience in the technology business. Under his leadership, HP became the world’s biggest maker of personal computers and server systems and the largest technology company by revenue.
Ellison, 66, is famous for his iconoclastic predictions about the future of the technology industry and has always been the public face of Oracle. In recent years, however, he has left day-to-day operations to the company’s two co-presidents, Safra Catz and Charles Phillips.
Ellison continues to have final say over strategic decisions at Oracle and is responsible for the company’s engineering efforts. He is the company’s largest shareholder, owning about 23% of Oracle.
Following Hurd’s resignation from HP last month, Ellison criticized HP’s board for letting Hurd go. The board, “failed to act in the best interest of HP’s employees, shareholders, customers and partners”, Ellison wrote in an email to The New York Times.
THE WALL STREET JOURNAL
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First Published: Wed, Sep 22 2010. 09 34 AM IST