Hurd resurfaces at Oracle

Former HP chief signs on as co-president

Former Hewlett-Packard chairman and CEO Mark Hurd wasn't out of a job for long. Oracle late Monday announced it has hired Hurd as co-president, replacing Charles Phillips, who simultaneously resigned.

Hurd will be co-president with Safra Catz, both of whom will report to Oracle CEO Larry Ellison. The move suddenly pits Hurd against his former employer. While HP and Oracle were once partners, the two companies became rivals upon Oracle's acquisition of Sun Microsystems earlier this year.

Largely as a result of that acquisition, HP shifted its integration efforts toward Microsoft, where Hurd signed a $250 million pact with the company to engineer advanced data center solutions.

Now Hurd is in a position to help Oracle integrate Sun's hardware business and potentially help the company move into services, having done that both at HP and as CEO of NCR. “Mark did a brilliant job at HP and I expect he’ll do even better at Oracle,” said Ellison said in a statement. That Oracle hired Hurd is not totally suprising. Ellison lashed out at HP last month in a letter to The New York Times calling it the worst personnel decision since Apple fired Steve Jobs decades ago.

Hurd, who was HP's CEO for five years and is credited with growing HP's revenues and profits through acquisitions and cost-cutting, was forced to resign last month following allegations that he had an inappropriate relationship with a sub-contractor. While he was exonerated of that misconduct, HP's board found improprieties in his use of company expenses and behavior.

During his tenure, Hurd oversaw a significant expansion of HP's business, overseeing the acquisitions of Mercury Interactive, Opsware, EDS, 3com and Palm, among others. It remains to be seen whether HP will move to block Hurd's appointment at HP. According to a report in The Wall Street Journal, Hurd had a 24-month confidentiality agreement. Signing with a competitor could violate that provision, according to the report.  

About the Author

Jeffrey Schwartz is executive editor of Redmond Channel Partner and an editor-at-large at Redmond magazine, affiliate publications of Government Computer News.

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