If HP’s beleaguered board thought the unpleasant Mark Hurd headlines would evaporate soon, it has another think coming.
First of all, the generous exit package awarded to a CEO that the company said breached its business practice standards, provoked a shareholder suit. Some stakeholders clearly think the payout–said to be up to $40 million–need not be paid to someone that could be fired for cause. Fired for cause? When’s the last time we heard of any high-tech CEO being treated like a company employee? How adorable!
The board also faced sniping from the Hurd camp, disputing some claims. How ironic that Oracle CEO Larry Ellison felt the need to comment on HP board deliberations…especially since Oracle’s Sun business competes directly with HP!! Not that anyone asked for his comments. At least not that we know of.
The text of Ellison’s unsolicited letter to The New York Times defending his buddy Hurd is here.
Now The Wall Street Journal reports that the HP board felt undercut by Hurd who negotiated his own settlement with the contractor who accused him of sexual harassment. The board, which in previous incarnations did not cover itself in glory and probably still smarted from an earlier “pretexting” scandal, really, really wanted to avoid another fiasco.
Oh, and speaking of pretexting, The New York Times’ ‘Joe Nocera yesterday reported that the aforementioned Mark Hurd was very much involved in that pretexting mess but that HP let board chairman Patricia Dunn take the fall for that huge PR snafu.
Yes, the HP headlines will continue. And why not? There’s plenty of blame to go around.