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Wed, Sep 08, 2010 - Page 10 News List

Ex-HP CEO Mark Hurd joins Oracle

NEW BOY Having overseen a number of large acquisitions at HP, Mark Hurd should feel at home at Oracle, one of the most active buyers of companies in the tech industry

 /  NEW YORK TIMES NEWS SERVICE , SAN FRANCISCO

In naming Mark Hurd as Oracle’s new co-president, Lawrence Ellison, Oracle’s chief executive and largest shareholder, has put his money where his controversial mouth is.

Late on Monday, Oracle announced that Hurd, the former chief executive of Hewlett-Packard (HP), had joined the company as a president and a director.

Hurd, 53, resigned from his position at HP one month ago, after an investigation by the board into a personal relationship with a contractor discovered questionable expense reports.

Ellison, a personal friend of Hurd’s, criticized HP’s board last month in an e-mail message to the New York Times, saying it was “the worst personnel decision since the idiots on the Apple board fired Steve Jobs many years ago.”

Now, Oracle intends to capitalize on HP’s mistake, Ellison, 66, said.

“Mark did a brilliant job at HP, and I expect he’ll do even better at Oracle,” Ellison said in the statement. “There is no executive in the IT world with more relevant experience than Mark.”

Oracle already had a crowded management suite, with Charles Phillips Jr and Safra Catz serving as co-presidents under Ellison.

Phillips, however, has resigned and given up his seat on the board, making room for Hurd.

In his statement, Ellison said that Phillips had asked to leave the company in December.

“We will miss his talent and leadership, but I respect his decision,” Ellison said.

This year, Phillips acknowledged having an affair after a woman he had been seeing, YaVaughnie Wilkins, put up a Web site and billboards detailing his extramarital relationship.

Oracle’s decision to hire Hurd presents Silicon Valley with a true soap opera, filled with fierce business dealings and saucy relationships.

HP has long been one of Oracle’s largest partners in the business computing market.

HP sells the computer servers and storage systems that customers use to run Oracle’s database software. However, Oracle acquired Sun Microsystems, one of HP’s longtime rivals in the hardware market.

Hurd will bring his expertise running the largest computer hardware business on the planet to Oracle, where he may be able to revive the fortunes of Sun’s products at HP’s expense.

Oracle has, in particular, used Sun’s technology to build a new line of data warehousing systems that can sort through huge volumes of information like sales trends, pricing and inventory levels.

Before joining HP as its chief executive in 2005, Hurd was chief executive of NCR, which had the leading data warehousing technology.

Hurd also oversaw a number of large acquisitions at HP, so he should feel right at home at Oracle, one of the most active buyers of companies in the technology industry.

“As Oracle continues to grow we need people experienced in operating a US$100 billion business,” Catz said in a statement.

Catz will continue to oversee Oracle’s finance, legal and merger and acquisition operations, while Ellison will oversee engineering. Hurd will manage sales, marketing and software support.

In a statement, Hurd said he looked forward to tackling Oracle’s rivals.

“I’m excited to be a part of the most innovative technology team in the IT industry,” he said.

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