Take A Closer Look At Oracle's New Co-CEO, The Controversial Mark Hurd

Mark Hurd


Oracle co-CEO Mark Hurd

Mark Hurd has once again become a CEO.

He's been promoted to co-CEO of Oracle, now that Larry Ellison is ending his 37-year-long CEO reign.

This is Hurd's' third time at the top of the org chart. He had previously been CEO of NCR Corp. after a 25-year career there. Then he spent five years as CEO of HP, from 2005 - 2010, a stint that notoriously ended in a sex a scandal and Hurd's resignation.Advertisement

At the time, Ellison famously came to Hurd's defense writing an e-mail to the New York Times denouncing HP's decision:

"The H.P. board just made the worst personnel decision since the idiots on the Apple board fired Steve Jobs many years ago," Ellison wrote.

Ellison, however, was not at all concerned about Hurd's private life. Ellison admired Hurd as a businessman.

Still, his tenure at HP was rocky for other reasons. Hurd is known as a cost-management guy, which was good for HP at first. The company's revenues and profits grew significantly when he was at the helm, helped by $24.3 billion in acquisitions.Advertisement

But Hurd's cost-cutting grew extreme, and according to some HP employees, it eventually hurt the company.

When Hurd left HP he had only 34% CEO approval rating from his employees, Glassdoor reports.

As a Hewlett-Packard Software Engineer (Houston, TX) noted at the time, "You need to replace the CEO with someone who have a vision for growth for our company not someone who only cuts costs."Advertisement

Hurd's signature deal at HP was the $13.2 billion acquisition of EDS in 2008, which never really flourished. A couple of years after he left, HP CEO Meg Whitman wrote off $8 billion of that acquisition.

His work at Oracle hasn't been without controversy, either. Ellison loves him for his ability to manage Oracle's huge sprawling businesses, sources have told us. But he immediately set about overhauling Oracle's legendary sales force, hiring 4,000 more sales people, restructuring quotas to boost hardware sales, and changing territories. It was a rocky transition, and some Oracle salespeople complained, while others left, they told us.

The proof of this plan was supposed to be in the pudding. After a couple of stagnant quarters, Oracle did return to growth, though it is still missing Wall Street's expectations more than it is meeting them.Advertisement

The Oracle CEO role will be different for Hurd because he's sharing it with Oracle's former CFO Safra Catz. It's really just a change in title, not a change in responsibility.

As president he was already handling all sales, service, and industry-specific business units and still will. Catz was previously running all manufacturing, finance, and legal functions and still will. As CTO, Ellison will still run all software and hardware engineering functions.Advertisement

In fact, Ellison even said he's still going to attend the quarterly analyst conference calls, same as always, drawing a laugh from the Wall Street analysts on the call.

In terms of Hurd's personal interests, he is passionate about tennis. He attended Baylor University on a tennis scholarship and is a big supporter of the university and its tennis program. After a big donation from Hurd, Baylor named its revamped tennis complex in his honor.Advertisement

He and his wife live in one of the Valley's most prestigious neighborhoods, Atherton, California. His neighbors include Microsoft cofounder Paul Allen, Google's Eric Schmidt, and, ironically enough, current HP CEO Meg Whitman.