Oracle snatches up ousted HP CEO Hurd, makes him co-president

HP's ousted CEO Mark Hurd will be joining Oracle as a co-president and member of the board, statements from the company said Monday.

Last month, Hurd left his position as CEO of HP after a sexual harassment investigation uncovered several of his policy violations; including a clandestine personal relationship with an HP contractor, and falsification of expense reports.

But Hurd's expunge and subsequent quick rehire at Oracle are somehow befitting of his career of late.

During his tenure at HP, the company experienced sustained growth despite persistent economic adversity. But it wasn't without serious scandal related to cutthroat business practices. In 2006, the US Department of Justice found that Hurd approved the use of spyware and software tracking devices to find out who was leaking information to the press.

Oracle CEO Ellison went to bat for Hurd after his resignation, calling the board's move to dismiss the CEO "the worst personnel decision since the idiots on the Apple board fired Steve Jobs."

In his announcement of Hurd's hire on Monday, Ellison said, "There is no executive in the IT world with more relevant experience than Mark. Oracle's future is engineering complete and integrated hardware and software systems for the enterprise. Mark pioneered the integration of hardware with software when Teradata was a part of NCR."

The question now seems to be whether Hurd can integrate into Oracle's camarilla, which for the last few years has consisted of Ellison, Safra Catz, a former investment banker who ran finance and operations, and Charles Phillips, who ran sales. On Monday, Phillips resigned.

Fortune magazine senior editor Adam Lashinsky explains the situation in this way: "Catz and Hurd are financial types, not technologists, though both have decades of technical chops and deep strategic understandings of how the industry works. Catz has a reputation for loathing the hurly burly of dealing with customers and investors, though she has stepped up her role with investors of late. Hurd verily lives to sell stuff and relishes pressing his case with the people who write checks on their companies' behalf. He thinks in terms of relative valuations and loves to talk about it. As of early 2009, Hurd and Catz didn't know each other well; now they've got to get along while being courtiers in the court of Larry."

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