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Larry Ellison Rips HP Board a New One 326

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the making-friends-every-day dept.
theodp writes "No stranger himself to sexual harassment allegations, Oracle CEO Larry Ellison has denounced HP's directors for forcing the resignation of HP CEO Mark Hurd. 'The HP board just made the worst personnel decision since the idiots on the Apple board fired Steve Jobs many years ago,' Ellison wrote. For now, it seems that Rupert Murdoch is also standing by Hurd, who sits on News Corp's Board of Directors and its Corporate Governance Committee. Less likely to survive the scandal is Hurd's relationship with HP General Counsel Mike Holston, who accepted Hurd's signed separation agreement after leading an investigation into Hurd's actions, which Holston told the NY Times 'showed a profound lack of judgment.' Quite a change from just last year, when Hurd and Holston teamed up to get their daughters' elite prep school a state-of-the-art HP Data Center."
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Larry Ellison Rips HP Board a New One

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  • by blind biker (1066130) on Tuesday August 10, 2010 @10:00AM (#33203726) Journal

    Is this how "corruption on a massive scale" is spelled, nowadays?

  • by waddgodd (34934) on Tuesday August 10, 2010 @10:06AM (#33203800) Homepage Journal

    This is the board that hired Carly, setting a new standard for "worst personnel decision". Compared to that, this doesn't even make a blip on the radar.

  • Re:Question: (Score:4, Insightful)

    by elrous0 (869638) * on Tuesday August 10, 2010 @10:06AM (#33203816)
    More common than most people realize. And thanks to feminists running around claiming that no woman has ever lied about being raped or sexually harassed, there is pretty much a presumption of guilt now for any such accusation, even if it's in the midst of a nasty divorce/custody case or if the victim has a clear financial gain in making an accusation. Just look at how those poor bastards in the Duke Lacrosse case [wikipedia.org] were publicly crucified by the likes of Gloria Alred and Nancy Grace (who never even had the decency to apologize after the case fell apart). Without decent attorneys, those guys would probably be in prison now (instead of the piece-of-shit prosecutor who railroaded them for his own political gain).
  • Why so surprised? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by moosesocks (264553) on Tuesday August 10, 2010 @10:06AM (#33203818) Homepage

    'The HP board just made the worst personnel decision since the idiots on the Apple board fired Steve Jobs many years ago,'

    I'm surprised Ellision is surprised. The HP board is no stranger to godawful personnel decisions [wikipedia.org].

  • by thesandbender (911391) on Tuesday August 10, 2010 @10:08AM (#33203834)

    Everyone is focusing on the sexual aspects of this. If you read through HP's statements, they fired him because he falsified expense reports (lied) so he could give money to the woman involved for *consulting* services that appeared to have either never been performed or were done so poorly as to be worthless (stole).

    HP canned his butt for stealing, plan and simple. It would be idiotic to keep a thief on as your CEO, especially in this political, companies are the root of all evil climate. HP's board did their job in this case.

  • by frank_adrian314159 (469671) on Tuesday August 10, 2010 @10:08AM (#33203838) Homepage

    If Larry Ellison backs Hurd then he must be his kind of scum - fearless and inventive. Takes one to know one.

  • Re:Yes (Score:5, Insightful)

    by s.d. (33767) on Tuesday August 10, 2010 @10:13AM (#33203902)

    He was a superstar manager. If HP's financial performance suffers without Hurd, they could lose tens of billions of dollars in market cap. If that happens I have to think that investors are going to question whether that $20k was worth it.

    I don't disagree that he has been an amazing manager at HP, helping to turn things around after the mess that was Carly Fiorina.

    However, how much corruption is too much to overlook? Where do you draw that line? He falsified records to get expenses paid out to himself and/or this woman for $20k, and when caught red-handed, offered to pay it back. Ok, but what if he wasn't caught? Would he have kept doing it? Would he have done it with some other woman? What happens if he wasn't caught until the total was in the millions? Would that have still been ok, because a couple million is still less than tens of billions in market cap?

    What is the value of corporate officers acting honestly no matter what?

  • Re:Question: (Score:5, Insightful)

    by nedlohs (1335013) on Tuesday August 10, 2010 @10:19AM (#33203968)

    Today you'd get thrown in jail for making that recording.

  • Re:Question: (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Mongoose Disciple (722373) on Tuesday August 10, 2010 @10:20AM (#33203976)

    To be fair, at one point it was pretty standard to put the accuser in a case like that more on trial than the accused.

    Things have swung too far in the opposite direction, now, but you have to understand these things in context -- society's trying to find an appropriate equilibrium.

  • Re:Yes (Score:3, Insightful)

    by grasshoppa (657393) <skennedyNO@SPAMtpno-co.org> on Tuesday August 10, 2010 @10:20AM (#33203982) Homepage

    This is business, not government. In business, you perform a cost analysis, with the risks and potential benefits.

    Morality, ethics don't really enter in to the question unless it becomes a PR and marketing issue.

    Hurd was doing a great job for the company, and yes he fucked up. However, I believe someone used this situation as a cover for their own personal agenda.

  • FTFY (Score:5, Insightful)

    by RingDev (879105) on Tuesday August 10, 2010 @10:24AM (#33204036) Homepage Journal

    Does anyone know if there is hard evidence (heh) proving this guy's guilt? It would be a real shame for this to be a false accusation that gives this man $12 million in cash and $30 to 40 million in stock options...

    -Rick

  • Flamebait mod (Score:3, Insightful)

    by elrous0 (869638) * on Tuesday August 10, 2010 @10:31AM (#33204110)
    See, you can't even point it out without getting a flamebait mod.
  • Re:Yes (Score:5, Insightful)

    by OnlineAlias (828288) on Tuesday August 10, 2010 @10:35AM (#33204132)

    People simply do not understand things at the top of the political/business world. None of this was about what he did, falsified what, or expensed whatever. This was about someone else wanting him out. Someone powerful wants the job, or doesn't like the guy, period.

    People at this level are in constant competition with others to keep their jobs, and have to force others out. If you make yourself politically weak by doing some jackoff thing like this, it makes it easier to take you out. Here, someone did. They managed to overlook the data center for his kids school, for chrissake. He just had more juice at that time.

  • by sirwired (27582) on Tuesday August 10, 2010 @10:40AM (#33204212)

    The firing wasn't about the amount of the falsification. $20k is indeed chump change for a bazillion-dollar executive. But once you let the CEO get away with blatantly falsifying expense accounts, you've now made theft from the company an acceptable practice. How do you now justify firing an employee for the same thing? Why is it okay for a CEO to steal $20k, but not okay for a peon to do the same? Condoning this behavior is simply not the right thing to do, and can trigger long-term problems with morale and the company culture which can lead to massive losses (and possibly company failure) years down the road.

    I'd say there is a 100% chance that any peon that stole $20k would be escorted out of the building by security (and isn't going to receive any cushy severance package either) and possibly brought up on charges.

    I applaud HP's board for doing the right thing here and demonstrating the executives are held to the same ethical rules as front-line employees. Yes, it hurt. Yes, Hurd was an otherwise-excellent CEO. Yes, this has cost a lot of short-term pain to the stock price. But some things just aren't right, and churning up $20k in fraudulent expense accounts is one of them. (Wiretapping journalists to find out their sources is another, which HP found out the hard way.) I think HP will be a stronger company down the road as a result.

    SirWired

  • Re:Yes (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 10, 2010 @10:42AM (#33204228)

    Your argument is exactly why companies should not be considered legal persons: because they lack a functioning morality.

  • by sirwired (27582) on Tuesday August 10, 2010 @10:46AM (#33204272)

    Larry Ellison runs Oracle like his own personal fiefdom. He's very good at what he does, but he's the last person on earth I'd ask for advice on executive boundaries. His attitude fits in very well with Oracle's corporate culture (which he built.) It would be a disaster for HP.

    Oracle's board would never fire him for such a thing (could they even do so?), but HP's board was quite right in tossing Hurd to the curb.

    HP's board made a tough choice, but in the end, I think it will have proven to be the correct one.

    SirWired

  • Re:Yes (Score:3, Insightful)

    by timeOday (582209) on Tuesday August 10, 2010 @11:10AM (#33204508)
    Allowing the CEO to remain after getting caught stealing from the company would be incredibly demoralizing to everybody else working there. The corporate culture would be equal parts cynicism and kleptomania.
  • HP board was right (Score:4, Insightful)

    by CHK6 (583097) on Tuesday August 10, 2010 @11:20AM (#33204628)
    The thought of a playboy CEO at HP is not the proper image to send. Oracle on the other hand prefers this image. It's not just the sexual harassment charge by itself, it's the addition of the $20K cover up too link directly to the woman making the charges. Sorry Mark, you got busted. If these two issues were separate, then yes Larry might have a point. but that's not the case. We all know hush money was paid and the rug was lifted to get this swept under.

    To add insult to injury this consultant's track record of being a soft core porn star and a reality star wanna-be, isn't something I thought HP hired as a professional planning contractor. But then again Tiger Woods had a contractor too.
  • Re:Flamebait mod (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 10, 2010 @11:22AM (#33204658)
    You were modded flamebait because of the fucking ridiculous strawman you threw up about feminists "running around" "claiming that no woman has ever lied" which is obviously a shrill histrionic fantasy. If you want to make a point, childish exaggeration doesn't help, it gets you modded as flamebait.
  • Re:Question: (Score:0, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 10, 2010 @11:23AM (#33204668)

    Oh, what a load of pure BS.

    First off, please point out a "feminist" claiming that no woman has ever lied about being raped or sexually harassed. I doubt you can find even one, and there certainly aren't hordes of them out there. Nancy Grace is hardly a representative of feminism, and even she has never said such an absurd thing. Of course, "feminists" make a great political target.

    What happened at Duke was of course a travesty and farce combined, but it's hardly a reflection on either feminism or the validity of rape claims. It's one incident, and the fault for it lies in the perpetrator of the fraud, the prosecutor, and media parasites like Nancy Grace. On the other hand, my girlfriend was brutally raped by a coworker, and no one did a damn thing about it. The police barely bother to investigate and her company retaliated against her when she reported it. I'm willing to bet that situation happens at least as often, if not more, than the reverse.

    But, oh! You got a flamebait mod! After spouting a bunch of idiotic nonsense! Clearly there's a conspiracy of women out to get you.

  • Re:Yes (Score:3, Insightful)

    by elrous0 (869638) * on Tuesday August 10, 2010 @11:23AM (#33204674)
    Amen. Boards overlook much bigger CEO infractions than this all the time. Someone (or, more likely, more than one) on the board wanted him gone for other reasons. This was just the formal legal CYA reason. The *real* truth may or may not ever come out.
  • Re:Question: (Score:3, Insightful)

    by elrous0 (869638) * on Tuesday August 10, 2010 @11:36AM (#33204844)

    I'm not talking about the Islamic world, I'm talking about the modern world. I'm sure you can find numerous references to Muslims claiming that Jinns have possessed their goats to produce bad milk too. That hardly makes the comments of those hillbilly Koran-thumpers mainstream.

    But if you can produce mainstream commentators (and not just nutcases on message boards or tin-foil-hat blogs shooting their mouths off in anonymity) in the western world saying any such thing, then knock yourself out. The only time I've ever heard the SLIGHTEST criticism of an accuser was in the Duke case (and that only came much later, after it became abundantly clear she was a complete nutcase) and in the Kobe Bryant case (and only because there were some very suspicious circumstances there, and even then it was mostly only pro-Kobe fans and sports writers that dared questioned her story).

  • Re:Violated policy (Score:4, Insightful)

    by cgenman (325138) on Tuesday August 10, 2010 @11:48AM (#33205016) Homepage

    HP has been headed by complete imbeciles for years now. The legendarily bad Carly was just the first headliner.

    I'm not too close to his work, but Mark Hurd was actually the first HP CEO in years that didn't seem to be a completely vacuous idiot. By not immediately firing every engineer and outsourcing design to wikipedia, Mark Hurd was the best HP CEO since the 90's. He seemed like he wanted to lead a business that actually made things. It was shocking.

    While there are many people that can competently fill the shoes of the CEO at HP, if history is any indication the board will elect Mister Bean.

  • by sean.peters (568334) on Tuesday August 10, 2010 @11:56AM (#33205116) Homepage

    And thanks to feminists running around claiming that no woman has ever lied about being raped or sexually harassed

    [Citation needed]. Please, do tell. Quote me a "feminist" who's running around claiming that no woman has ever lied about this sort of thing. That's all right, I'll wait.

    there is pretty much a presumption of guilt now for any such accusation,

    This is hardly limited to sexual harassment/rape cases - most people reflexively think that people accused of ANYTHING are probably guilty. There's a reason why grand jury proceedings are secret.

  • Re:Question: (Score:3, Insightful)

    by PitaBred (632671) <slashdot.pitabred@dyndns@org> on Tuesday August 10, 2010 @12:15PM (#33205382) Homepage

    Depends on the state. I'd get out of Massachusetts while the getting was good.

  • Re:Question: (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Your.Master (1088569) on Tuesday August 10, 2010 @12:20PM (#33205446)

    The Islamic world wasn't the whole of his examples, just an afterthought thrown in there.

    Look at any Digg story about rape. Or any article that drifts into whether abortion should be legal in cases of rape.

    Then there are stories like this http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/10211/1076338-455.stm [post-gazette.com] where every mention of rape is assumed to actually be consensual sex (in other words, she asked for it).

    Or these pamphlets that aim to spread the message everywhere http://jezebel.com/5482688/you-make-men-want-to-be-sinful-blaming-the-victim-religious-pamphlet-edition [jezebel.com]

    Or http://jezebel.com/5478360/she-knew-what-would-happen-if-she-started-drinking-blaming-the-victim-princeton-edition [jezebel.com]

    This shows that it isn't just a small nutball collective: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1251040/Rape-Its-fault-victims-say-50-women.html?ITO=1490&utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed:+dailymail/home+(Home+ [dailymail.co.uk]|+Mail+Online)

    The boys aren't to blame because she drank a bit: http://current.com/1db6i4c [current.com]

    Here's what rapists think about it: http://www.washingtoncitypaper.com/blogs/sexist/2010/04/15/why-dont-we-accept-victim-blaming-from-rapists/ [washingtoncitypaper.com]

    There are a whole host of weirder cases, too, that imply that rape victims actually gave consent. Remember how Whoopi Goldberg ranting about how Roman Polanski's drugging and raping an unconscious child wasn't really rape? I'm not sure what she was getting at, but if it wasn't rape then it stands to reason that Whoopi thought something about the unconscious, drugged girl gave consent to Polanski.

    But if you can produce mainstream commentators...

    You are moving goalposts and putting them someplace strange and unnecessary. This isn't about political commentators blaming the victim, it's about members of the public blaming the victim, all the time. Fair enough that you can find a lone person with an insane definition of anything, but this is hardly a rare viewpoint.

  • Re:Question: (Score:5, Insightful)

    by the phantom (107624) on Tuesday August 10, 2010 @12:45PM (#33205802) Homepage
    Actually, a drunk man who has sex with a sober woman could press rape charges. However, this assumes that (a) upon waking, the man feels that he has been wronged and (b) the man actually chooses to press rape charges. We live in a society that assumes that men want to have sex with women, no matter their state of mind, and that further presumes that a man cannot be raped by a woman, and any man that does make such a claim is a pussy. So it is understandable that so few cases are prosecuted.
  • Re:Question: (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Hatta (162192) on Tuesday August 10, 2010 @01:22PM (#33206248) Journal

    To be fair, at one point it was pretty standard to put the accuser in a case like that more on trial than the accused.

    What's wrong with that? If you're talking about depriving a man of several years, if not decades, of his life, potentially subjecting him to rape in prison, and branding him for life after his release, shouldn't we be damn sure the accuser has their story straight?

  • by Bruce Perens (3872) <bruce@perens.com> on Tuesday August 10, 2010 @01:41PM (#33206514) Homepage Journal

    Mark Hurd's silly exit has little to do with HP's real problems. As an executive there about a decade ago, I saw a company that was giving up its differentiating value in the name of operational savings, not realizing that by now the Golden Goose of creativity would find greener pastures. But surprisingly, the classic HP tradition of building a great place to do engineering that results in a flood of excellent creative products is being followed...

    Read the rest of the posting [perens.com].

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