Mark Hurd's career at HP meets an unlikely end
The former CEO avoided attention; he was all about operations, though he could be tough
Computerworld - Hewlett-Packard Co.'s former CEO Mark Hurd was not a typical Silicon Valley chieftain. He rarely sought the stage, a la Apple's Steve Jobs, and he wasn't interested in traveling to Washington, D.C. with Google's Eric Schmidt to help shape big policies.
Hurd avoided the press and didn't even speak at the company's enterprise technology conference this year in Las Vegas. He left that to other HP executives, people who are now his possible successors, including Ann Livermore, executive vice president for HP's enterprise business, and David Donatelli, executive vice president and general manager for enterprise servers and networking.
That lack of attention-seeking by Hurd makes his resignation Friday afternoon as CEO particularly ironic: People who didn't even know who he was because of his low profile will now remember him for the way he left the company's top job.
HP announced late Friday that Hurd was stepping down after a former marketing consultant alleged that he sexually harassed her. A probe found that Hurd had had a personal relationship with the consultant and hid it from the board by using inaccurate expense reports.
But there's a lot more to the story of a person analysts say was an exceptional manager, the person who turned HP around after the dot.com bubble burst and kept it moving forward after CEO Carly Fiorina was fired in 2005. (Fiorina is now running as a Republican candidate for the U.S. Senate in California.)
Hurd was an operations manager. He focused on the spending, the deliverables -- and on keeping investors confident. He didn't talk about his vision very often, he just executed on it. On his watch, HP bought EDS for $13.9 billion; 3Com for $2.7 billion; Palm for $1.2 billion; and a steady stream of software companies, notably Opsware Inc. for $1.6 billion. His goal: to build a product portfolio.
Hurd's effort to create a company that could compete in services as well as assemble end-to-end products for enterprises was paying off in ways that are hard to dispute.
In the first quarter of this year, HP held the No. 1 position in worldwide server market share, with 32.5%, said IDC.
Hurd, who took the HP job after Fiorina's departure in 2005, also rebuilt the company internally, tasking CIO Randy Mott with consolidating HP's data centers, automating the heck out of them, and cutting the application portfolio.
Employees were cut, including 25,000 layoffs announced in September 2008, the same month Wall Street started to implode in the financial crisis. Some analysts felt he went too far, cut too deep, and paid too much for EDS.
- French fight the death of OpenVMS
- Aloha point-of-sale terminal, sold on eBay, yields security surprises
- HP, Intel, GM and Walmart demand changes to renewable energy industry
- Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols: Does HP have a development pipeline or a pipe dream?
- HP Places Its Data Center Bet on 'The Machine'
- 6 Emerging Programming Languages Career-Minded Developers Should Learn
- Beware the next circle of hell: Unpatchable systems
- Rackspace not a good fit for Cisco, says Chambers
- Solar power to provide HP's HQ with 20% of its electricity
- Review: Dell WYSE delivers Android-on-a-stick
- Maintain Less. Create More. Spend less on maintenance and spend more time creating with Red Hat Enterprise Linux. Read on to learn how Red Hat can help...
- Mobile First: Securing Information Sprawl Learn how the partnership between Box and MobileIron can help you execute a "mobile first" strategy that manages and secures both mobile apps...
- AIIM Trendscape: The New Mobile Reality This AIIM Trendscape report shares data, expert opinions, and a unique perspective on the impact of cloud and mobility in the enterprise, surfacing...
- Empowering Your Mobile Workers A modern mobile IT strategy is no longer an option, it is an absolute necessity. Here's how some of the nation's most progressive...
- On Demand: Mastering the Art of Mobile Content Management Mobile device usage in the enterprise has skyrocketed, and it continues to escalate. IT must answer to users who demand access to their...
- What should I look for in a Next Generation Firewall? SANS Provides Guidance With so many vendors claiming to have a Next Generation Firewall (NGFW), it can be difficult to tell what makes each one different.... All Management White Papers | Webcasts