Saturday, August 07, 2010

Hurd of HP

Following Mark Hurd's sudden resignation at HP, one really wonders what is going there. Hurd developed power during the earlier flap over pretexting.

From Fiorina, Hurd: no practitioners of "The HP Way"?:

Stanford alumni Bill Hewlett and Dave Packard in the 1950s outlined the tenets of a corporation that embraced performance bonuses, employee shares, ground-level decision-making, even tuition aid and allowing workers to leave early to get to Little League games. Business 101 today, novel at the time.

Malone said that long-held philosophy came under siege with the arrival of outsider Carly Fiorina -- who was ousted after a reign marked by the unpopular, costly acquisition of Compaq and a lackluster share price. Fiorina has said however she felt the "HP Way" was an excuse not to innovate, an impediment to change in a rapidly evolving tech corporate landscape.


Fiorina -- now a strong challenger to incumbent Barbara Boxer for a California Senate seat -- counters that too many at HP were resistant to much-needed restructuring.

"Bill and Dave had once been radicals and pioneers. Now, I'd seen too many instances where a new idea was quickly dismissed with the comment: "We don't do it that way. It's not the HP Way." The HP Way was being used as a shield against change," she said on her website,

It seems that the "HP way" is being used in two distinct contexts. In the former paragraph, the "HP Way" is about a management style, whereas in the later paragraph it is about a technical style.


"'The HP Way' has been pretty battered, there's not many people left there who really have lived it. But the spirit is embedded in the DNA of the company," Malone said.

Earlier IPBiz posts:

How Hewlett-Packard pretexting impacts lawyers

**Also, The Hurd Mentality: HP's Mark Hurd and the Big Traps in Small Lapses -->

How can very smart, accomplished people do such stupid things?

Hurd is not the first, and probably won't be the last, top leader to fall from grace over seemingly trivial and avoidable lapses of judgment. I've written recently about General McChrystal's off-the-cuff remarks to Rolling Stone magazine, which led to his removal from command by President Obama. A Boeing CEO's downfall was a trail of romantic exchanges with a mistress at the company using company email. Last year, a number of high-tech executives were implicated in an insider trading scheme which seemed to have consisted of casual conversations rather than willful intent. Numerous politicians have had to contend with the consequences of small mistakes in financial disclosure or resume claims, including British Members of Parliament implicated in recent housing reimbursement scandals. Reaching back into ancient history, I recall the story of Presidential candidate and U.S. Senator Gary Hart, who responded to media reports of sexual misconduct by daring the media to follow him — right into the arms of Donna Rice, a finding that abruptly terminated his campaign and future national prospects.


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