Ex-Hewlett-Packard CEO Mark Hurd brings his experience running a large IT company and working with hardware, software and services to Oracle, which is looking to take on IBM and HP.
Oracle CEO Larry Ellison has been talking
about challenging IBM as a full-service IT
supplier since first broaching the idea of buying Sun Microsystems. Ellison has
taken another step in that direction with the hiring
of ex-HP President and CEO Mark Hurd,
according to industry analysts.
Hurd comes to Oracle with a strong background in managing large
companies that offer both hardware and software, have strong services divisions,
have bought and integrated other companies, and can make their IT offerings
work together in an integrated fashion.
All those attributes can help Oracle work toward its stated
goal of reaching $100 million in revenues and challenging IBM.
Hurd's move to Oracle is good for both the man and the company, analysts commented.
All that said, it won't be an easy feat to take on IBM.
"As Oracle continues to integrate its acquired Sun assets
with its database, middleware and applications platforms, the addition of an
execution-focused executive like [Hurd] is a huge boost to the company,"
Stuart Williams, an analyst with Technology Business Research, said in a report
"Oracle is plotting a strategy that takes it into direct
competition with traditional systems heavyweight IBM.
IBM has huge advantages-with long-time
enterprise customers, a services business, a strong IP-backed hardware business
and a $20 billion software business of its own. The ability to tie software
with hardware to specific workloads such as data warehouse or online
transaction processing meets rising customer requirements for easy-to-use
devices that add capabilities without adding the cost of build-it-yourself
Hurd resigned under pressure from Hewlett-Packard Aug. 6, after
a former HP contractor claimed that he sexually harassed her. An internal
investigation found no basis for the sexual harassment complaint, but the HP
board of directors said Hurd falsified some expense reports in an effort to
conceal his personal relationship with the contractor, Jodie Fisher. The board
concluded that Hurd had violated HP business policies.
Within days, Ellison, a close friend of Hurd, sharply
criticized the HP board in an e-mail to the New York Times, claiming that
the company was making a mistake and pointing out that no basis was found for
the initial complaint against Hurd.
Oracle announced Hurd's hiring as Oracle co-president Sept. 6,
replacing Charles Phillips, whose reputation also took a blow this year when he
admitted to an eight-year affair. Hurd and Safra Catz will be co-presidents, both
reporting to Ellison.
A day after the hiring, HP filed suit against Hurd in a California
state court, saying Hurd could not serve as president of Oracle without
violating a confidentiality agreement that was part of his almost $40 million
That said, Hurd's hiring should be a significant competitive win
for Oracle, according to analysts.
In Hurd, "You have an experienced executive who did run a
company that size," said Gartner analyst Kenneth Chin. "Hurd brings a
lot of good qualifications for running a company the size of HP or IBM."
In fiscal-year 2009, HP generated more than $114 billion in
revenue. For its fiscal 2009, Oracle saw almost $27 billion. Company officials
are looking to see Oracle grow into a $100 billion company.
In addition, the ex-HP CEO comes
with a strong
background in hardware and services, which Oracle will need if it wants to compete
with HP and IBM, Chin said.