HP’s CEO Mark Hurd Resigns

The big news today is that Mark Hurd, the CEO of Hewlett-Packard, has resigned after he was accused of sexual harassment. While cleared of the harassment charges, apparently the company decided that he had violated their standards of conduct. The New York Times has a report, as does the Los Angeles Times.

Mr. Hurd was known as a cost-cutting CEO; his Wikipedia entry has this to say:

Hurd has a reputation for cost-cutting. He laid off 15,200 workers—10% of the workforce—shortly after becoming CEO. Other cost-cutting moves include cutting 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. During the recent recession Mark Hurd imposed a 5% pay cut on all employees, where legally permitted, and removed many benefits.

Put another way, this means that 11,000 IT professionals lost their livelihoods under Mark Hurd’s guidance – more employees than most companies. On Glassdoor.com, Mark Hurd received a 34% approval rating from current and former employees. This is amazing, considering that Michael Dell (at Dell) and Sam Palmisano (at IBM) both have 51% approval ratings. Yet, Wall Street loves him…

Interestingly enough, stock prices rose 10% when Carly Fiorina was removed as CEO, but when Mark Hurd resigned, stock prices plunged 10%.

HP has a recent history of sudden departures; Carly Fiorina (previous CEO) was forced out, and the HP spying scandal resulted in a flurry of resignations, including Patty Dunn (chairman), Dr. George Keyworth II (board member), Tom Perkins (board member), and Ann Baskins (General Counsel).

Cathie Lesjak (current HP CFO) was named interim CEO, and is on record declaring that she is not interested in a permanent position as CEO. Interestingly, she retains her post as CFO as well – double duty?

No immediate comments on if there will be any changes at HP, but I would not look for any – after all, an interim CEO isn’t about to restructure the entire company. Still, it’ll be interesting to see what happens next.

Update: CNet has a page that consolidates all of their coverage on Mark Hurd’s departure from HP. Some interesting articles include their take on who might be next as CEO, and CNet’s Charles Cooper also notes the company’s recent tendency toward scandal (and compares HP to Peyton Place).

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