Oracle President Mark Hurd’s name seems to pop up a lot when a CEO slot in the tech industry opens up. Most recently, Hurd’s name has been bandied about as a possible replacement for Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, who announced August that he will retire within 12 months.
However, Hurd seemed to put such speculation to rest during an interview with CNBC on Oct. 22, telling the show’s hosts that he is “very happy at Oracle. I plan on going nowhere.”
“It is a great place to be,” he said, deflecting several questions designed to get him to say more. “We’re in a great position right now and that’s where I’m going to be.”
Hurd has been at Oracle since 2010, hired by CEO Larry Ellison about a month after Hurd was forced to resign as CEO of Hewlett-Packard amid allegations of sexual harassment. No charges were ever leveled at Hurd, but HP’s board of directors said he had violated the company’s business practices by filing misleading expense reports.
During his five years at HP, Hurd was credited with stabilizing the company’s financial numbers, but drew criticism from some corners for relying too much on cost-cutting as a way of hitting those goals. A month after Hurd left HP, then-IBM CEO Sam Palmisano said that during Hurd’s tenure HP had been hurt by deep cuts in R&D, leading to a decline in relevance. Instead, Palmisano said, he saw Oracle as a more significant competitor than HP.
Ellison quickly hired Hurd as Oracle president and sharply criticized the HP board, saying the decision to get rid of Hurd was as bad as the decision by the Apple board in the mid-1980s to fire founder Steve Jobs. Over the past three years, Hurd has become a major spokesman for Oracle on a range of subjects, from cloud computing to data center hardware to enterprise software.
During the CNBC interview, Hurd was asked what he would do to help Microsoft—which is pushing into the cloud and mobile computing, among other spaces—move forward.
“That’s a great question,” he said. “I spend all of my time on Oracle. That’s what consumes me day to day, and Microsoft needs to work on its own business.”
Hurd’s name also came up earlier this year when Michael Dell was pushing forward with his plan to buy his namesake company and take it private. Activist investor Carl Icahn supported a counterproposal to buy the company and said if he was in charge, Michael Dell would not remain CEO. Speculation around possible replacements included Hurd.
Some of the other names mentioned as possible Microsoft CEO candidates include former Nokia CEO Stephen Elop, who is now back with Microsoft after the software giant bought Nokia’s handset business, and Ford Motors CEO Alan Mulally.