Men Will Be Men And Other HP Myths

In the men’s world of business, fooling around is one thing, getting caught, well, that’s something else entirely.  Men have a double standard for other men.  When Clinton got caught diddling around with an intern, most business men chuckled but thought to themselves, “I always knew he was weak.”  We like guys who are discreet and not making rookie mistakes when the stakes are large.  For the fired, and apparently disgraced, Mark Vincent Hurd, at 53 a cherub still, and his CNBC Wall Street cheering section, you might want to avoid getting too near any buses.  Your champions are jumping ship, to mix a metaphor.


Cathie Lesjak former CFO, new CEO


Taking over in the near term is underachiever, and CFO, Cathie Lesjak, who has already noted she will not seek a permanent job. I’m not sure if she’s been asked yet what might change her mind, but her role, apparently, is to simply serve the greater good and convince stockholders that Hurd’s firing was simply business as usual.

Listed on the Wiki for the Baylor graduate there are some notable accomplishments, sort of:  “Hurd has reputation for aggressive cost-cutting. He laid off 15,200 workers—10% of the workforce—shortly after becoming CEO. Other cost-cutting includes reducing the IT department from 19,000 to 8,000, reducing the number of software applications that HP uses from 6,000 to 1,500, and consolidating the HP’s 85 data centers to 6. In the recent recession, Hurd imposed a 5% pay cut on all employees and removed many benefits. Hurd himself took a pay cut of 20% in his base salary, although the compensation committee increased his bonus by the same amount. Following the acquisition of EDS, Hurd instructed that all EDS employees should have their salaries adjusted to match the salaries of their HP counterparts, with pay cut of as much as 20%.”  Right after this, earnings soared, and he became a hero.

I wonder how many of those folks will be kicking in for his defense fund?  Or will he just take the $50-100 million he’ll probably make and become a politician where the customers aren’t as fussy?

Wall Street experts analyzing his past, to a one, said that after careful vetting of Hurd’s background there was nothing, absolutely nothing, in his background that would point to  this sort of behavior.  Oh, well, except they did say the only thing they could find was the fact that he is a man.

Hailed the next best thing to that guy who could skip across ponds, Hurd saved HP from the disastrous management of the erstwhile CEO he replaced, Carly Fiorina.  Rick Sturm of Enterprise Management Serivces said, " There are very few people in the world who can fill these shoes, but they need somebody who can come in and oversee this diverse organization that’s been created."

Hurd’s tenure at HP made a lot of filthy rich folks even richer, when he dumped all those long time employees and we all saw earnings leap.  The future looked bright once again and in the spirit of resurrections, Fiorina, has now decided to take on challenges a bit less demanding.  Anyone can become Governor of California, but few are even considered to run HP.  Get your priorities straight.  Just ask board member and Internet rock star Marc Andreesen,  who insisted. “This was a necessary decision.”   Or even the lawyer Hurd, himself, brought in back in 2006, Michael Holston, executive vice president and general counsel:  “Mr. Hurd’s actions “showed a profound lack of judgment,”
But don’t cry for me is what Hurd ought to be singing, as he will have lots of dinero to soothe his bruised ego, “In resigning Hurd ensured himself a hefty payday. According to a proxy filing for 2009, had Hurd been fired for cause he would’ve been entitled to $27.2 million, if let go without cause the number goes up to $52.9 million. CNBC sources say his payday for leaving the company voluntarily will be between $40 and $50 million.”  Not bad for a guy who felt the need to cheat on an expense report.



Poor judgment is unacceptable in the manufacturing of printers and scanners and stuff; not so much, however, when selling the State of California down the tubes.  But HP ain’t your run-of-the-mill box puncher, there is the “legacy.”  That old garage and some other things.  Hurd got arbitraged out because he made the rookie mistake of “fudging” his expenses.  For that alone, like Bill and Tiger before him, he had to capitulate.  Will street guru and ultimate Cougar, Maria Bartiromo, ever get over the shock and horror of this announcement?  She surely spent some time the last 24 hours holding a non-top vigil trying to get the Gods of Shallow Alto to re-consider what has already been carved in serpentine just off Sand Hill Road.

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Oracle, Lustre and Open Source Going, Going, Gone
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Bulletin:  Big Bonus here:  Who will get the name of the “marketing consultant” whom we are sure all our friends are  dying to hear about as soon as you know.  I’m sure Alred is booking the deal for the interview as we read.

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