Mon 6 Dec 2010
HP’s Mark Hurd gets canned and gets richer
Here at CNET, we’re still trying to figure out the life lesson in this one.
Mark Hurd, the CEO of the tech company with the largest revenues in the world is unceremoniously dumped by his board of directors because he did something with Jodie Fisher, a very attractive former actress and reality television star hired to schmooze customers at company events. We say something in italics because we have no idea what went on–Hurd settled a sexual harassment claim with Fisher and she’s not talking, which derailed the board’s investigation. We do know, thanks to months of investigation by a team of Wall Street Journal reporters, that Hurd and Fisher had dinner and watched football in restaurants and hotel rooms around the globe, but they swear they’re just friends (or were friends, most likely).
The board said it found no evidence of sexual harassment but was still peeved enough with Hurd’s behavior to force him out. He took a severance package worth up to $40 million with him. As a bonus, the HP board was portrayed as a bunch of reactionary prigs in many Silicon Valley circles.
So what happened to Hurd? Naturally, he was offered a new job as president at HP’s latest and nastiest rival, Oracle. Tech pundits figure he’ll end up running the company if bon vivant CEO Larry Ellison ever decides to retire, proving the old adage that one man’s garbage is another man’s treasure. Hurd’s excellent, or bogus, adventure comes in at #2 on our turkey list simply because it’s galling that he so easily landed on his feet.
Photo by Stephen Shankland/CNET and Jodie Fisher
Caption by CNET News staff