Quoted: Larry Ellison sticks up for his BFFs

“I am deeply offended by what just happened to him. If the HP board is offended by my comments … so be it.”

ā€” Larry Ellison, Oracle CEO, weighs in on the resignation last week of HP CEO Mark Hurd, who is a close friend. Ellison’s comments, sent in an e-mail to the New York Times, included comparing the Hewlett-Packard board’s decision to oust Hurd to the “idiots” on the Apple board’s firing of Steve Jobs (whom Ellison has called his best friend) in 1985. Ellison also said CEOs don’t file their own expense reports, and that “what the expense fraud claims do reveal is an H.P. board desperately grasping at straws in trying to publicly explain the unexplainable.”

 
 

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  • sd

    I suspect there’s a fair amount we don’t yet know about Mr. Hurd’s — umm, extracurricular activity. But anybody risks Hurd’s kind of money over a few grand in falsified expense reports is an “idiot” himself.

    And even if there IS a minion filling out the actual form, the person incurring the charges is responsible for ensuring they’re accurate. This “plausible deniability” is the same thinking that gave us Enron and the derivatives scandal (“Buh? How did THAT happen??!?”)

    Either way, in this case, the buck stops with Hurd. Just stupid.

  • STUART

    Larry’s correct. Who–other than his wife–gives a crap that a successful CEO has a mistress on the payroll/expense account?

    Isn’t thi HP board essentially the same bunch of suits that offed Carly and then worked hard to portray her as a shrew?

  • J.W. James

    Ellison hit the nail on the head. If we treated our President’s
    the same way we wouldn’t be able to keep a President for
    more than a month or two. Eisenhower, Kennedy, Clinton,
    etc. Back in Eisenhower’s day everyone knew about it but
    nobody said anything. That’s changed with tabloids and such. Rich, powerful men attract this type of thing and it shouldn’t have anything to do with them
    running a company or a country. The Board was wrong.

  • Mr. Ellison is correct to be offended by the actions of HP’s Board, provided that the facts as offered to the public are all there is to the story. While not the first time Boards have made stupid decisions, the ousting of Mark Hurd for reasons made public begs the question of what hasn’t been said about the situation. HP is now left – again – without a leader. The Board has to scramble to find someone that will fit HP’s culture and will deliver the decisiveness required to move the company forward. And, they need to find someone quickly soas to minimize the disruption to the great progress Mark Hurd had made.

  • Mark

    Of course, Larry has a history of sexual harassment, so he knows what he is talking about.

  • RedRat

    I think Ellison is on to something here. You don’t throw out a CEO for finagling a few thousand dollars and perhaps playing footsie with the female consultant. Something else must be afoot here that has not been made public. This “firing” for fudging an expense account of an executive who is making millions a year is a sham. There must be far more to this story.

    Now if there is not anything else but this, then HP has the most incompetent board of directors in American History. They are either incompetent or crazy. Hurd would not be the first CEO called on the carpet for sexual harassment, which has a pretty broad legal definition covering everything from a misuse of a curse word to actual sexual intercourse. CEO’s survive even this. Is the board composed mainly of “born agains”, evangelicals, or Mormons????

  • Skip Rung

    Of course the whole thing turns on details and back stories that the involved parties do not intend to make public – at least at this time. I generally assume that courses of action are chosen for rational reasons in support of logical interests and (vanishing everywhere) ethics/morality.

    Casting aside a successful (at cost-cutting, deal-making and executive/shareowner enriching – if not innovation and technology leadership any more) CEO is not something done lightly, so this cannot possibly be just about expense reimbursement. Also salient, and equally murky, is what opportunity someone like Gloria Allred senses. This most likely isn’t penny ante stuff either.

    If they have time for something other than aiding and comforting America’s enemies, maybe WikiLeaks would like to take this one on?

  • sd

    OK, I’ll agree that whatever arrangements Hurd wants to make in his social relationships are between him, Mrs. Hurd, and whoever’s in the middle.

    But “everybody does it”? Non-starter. If I falsified expense reports where I work, I’d be tossed out pronto, with no peers to decry my accusers and without a pre-negotiated golden handshake. Based on the public story to date, Hurd FALSIFIED company records — stockholder money, customer money. He was accused of harassment. The fact that he’s led hp to huge profits doesn’t excuse this.

    Hurd is paid something like $8-10,000 an HOUR (at 55-60 hours a week). That (or if) he messed around with expense reports to cover what amounts to no more than half a day’s work is just dumb. Either that or there’s much more smoke and the Board was right to get rid of him.

    As for finding someone who “will fit HPā€™s culture,” maybe they’d be better off digging a little and finding someone who remembers what the old Dave-and-Bill hp was like. Given the company I see today, I have a hard time recommending their stuff to anyone.

  • Jim Long

    History has already taught us that Larry Ellison has limited regard for good corporate governance or ethics so his opining on the Hurd case should have no value. Mr. Hurd did a fine job of cost cutting during a consolidation phase but that time is past. It is time for HP to innovate again and Mr. Hurd is not the person to lead that. I do not know if that factored into the HP Board’s thinking but the judgment lapses were plenty as is and blaiming it on suboordinates doing expense reports is pitiful.

  • tp

    Ellison must jest! Who gave the scribe the receipts for the expense report in the first place?? If he pays so little attention to what he is signing, it’s a good thing they got rid of him. Nice try blaming it on his secretary! She’s probably lost her job too and she was only doing what she was told to do.
    Another one got caught!

  • @SD and @Jim Long are on the mark here. HP doesn’t tolerate employees who commit fraud. And Ellison/Oracle have a long history of underhanded business tactics.

    In a way it makes perfect sense that Ellison is buddies with Hurd and Hurt got fired for unethical behavior. It seems they see the world the same way: Situational integrity; practice integrity, except when it’s not convenient.

  • Gary Valan

    You tell them Larry. What did they fire him for? Possible affair or the problematic expense reports? Since both claimed they did not sleep together where’s the problem. Ms. Fisher then claimed sexual harassment much later. Why not during the “harassment?” In any case she settled the claim. So no problem there.

    If he or whoever prepared his expense report fudged it then he could have been disciplined or even sacked. But he was allowed to resign. That hardly shows great corporate governance.

    There is more to the story than what has been revealed.

 
 
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