Richi Jennings

Mark Hurd, it seems, was hated by HP'ers (and concall)

August 11, 2010 2:38 PM EDT
By Richi Jennings. August 11, 2010.

In the days after Mark Hurd's surprise 'resignation' it's become clearer and clearer that he was widely despised by HP employees (but not stockholders). He's blamed by many for a precipitous drop in employee morale (not to mention their compensation). Now come the allegations that the HP Board of Directors used Jodie Fisher's sexual harassment charge as an excuse to get rid of him. In IT Blogwatch, bloggers pick over the bones of the story, five days on.

Your humble blogwatcher curated these bloggy bits for your delight. Not to mention The Conference Call...

This anonymous alleged HP employee is happy, for a change:
Mark Hurd was an immoral bean counter with no personality besides arrogance and a complete disregard ... for the "HP Way". I ... have seen the changes in culture go from one of pride ... to a now miserable bitter and inefficient work force.
Customers come dead last, and shareholders and stock value are the only thing that matter. ... I can't stand the man, and am so happy he is gone. I hope all his minions go with him.M0RE

As is this alleged ex-HP'er:
He won't be missed inside HP! ... The heart is gone out of HP and he killed it. ... I think the board finally woke up to his game and used this as a reason to get rid of him!
In the end I left HP to do the same job elsewhere and received a 50% pay increase. ... Mark Hurd will be missed like a hole in the head!M0RE

Chuck House thinks the stated reasons for him leaving were excuses:
This guy was a thug, nicknamed Mark Turd by ex-HPites. ... He raped HP employees (figuratively) ... by eliminating the sixty-five year concept of profit sharing. ... He was profane, a bully, autocratic, threatening, demeaning, vindictive, and rude.
Employee [surveys] showed in April an astonishing finding -- more than two-thirds of HP's employees would quit tomorrow if they had an equivalent job offer. ... That number never used to be in double digits. ... There's lots more to "worry about", and it is easy to imagine that the HP Board ... didn't know where to "pin the blame". This "non-sexual" harassment was simply a convenient foil...M0RE

Rob Enderle has a similar thought:
One final thing to think about: Mark Hurd took over the chairmanship of HP. When he had the initial sexual harassment problem, because of a conflict of interest, he couldn’t even participate in the board discussion that led to his termination.
This allowed someone else ... to drive the conversation suggesting his very grab for power may have actually been what caused him to face the extreme penalty.M0RE

But Henry Blodget is surprised:
Interesting take. ... All tough CEOs have their enemies, especially those who drive profits by cutting costs. But we've been surprised by the outpouring of cheers over Hurd's ouster.M0RE

Eric Jackson told ya so:
Almost one year ago, I wrote ... Mark Hurd was the emperor with no clothes. ... What alarmed me about Hurd last year was the piggish behavior he and his executive team were exhibiting. ... They were gorging at the trough ... at the same time that they were ... turning the screws on H-P employees ... to accept pay cuts and reduced benefits.
This management team mandated that year that all Hewlett-Packard staffers would take a 5% pay cut ... they boasted that they ... would stand shoulder to shoulder with the staff by taking 10%. ... They forgot to say ... that they would more than make up for that on options, restricted stock units and other bonus goodies.M0RE
Jason Hiner thinks the dislike "may have come back to bite him":
Although Hurd was reportedly in negotiations for a new contract before the sexual harassment allegations came to light, there has been growing discontent with Hurd inside HP. ... You can’t blame HP employees.
He helped the company get its financial house in order and in the process ... tripled HP’s profits. But, Hurd did it with a brutal scorched-earth policy ... that demoralized many of the company’s 300,000 employees.M0RE

And Erick Schonfeld agrees:
Even Yahoo CEO Carol Bartz ... and Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer ... are more loved by their employees than Hurd.
It is not exactly a mystery as to why Hurd was not universally loved. ... He was a relentless cost-cutter, an expert at eliminating thousands of jobs ... while paying himself handsomely. ... Employee sentiment can only tell you so much. ... He also got HP back on its feet, adding $30 billion in revenues and tripling profits over five years.M0RE
And Finally...
David Grady: The Conference Call
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Richi Jennings, your humble blogwatcher   Richi Jennings is an independent analyst/consultant, specializing in blogging, email, and security. A cross-functional IT geek since 1985, you can follow him as @richi on Twitter, pretend to be richij's friend on Facebook, or just use good old email:
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