Ellison’s public fury over HP CEO’s resignation

Larry Ellison

Oracle's chief executive (CEO) and founder, Larry Ellison, has publicly lambasted HP for its decision to "force" Mark Hurd out.

In an impassioned email to the New York Times, Ellison wrote: "The HP board just made the worst personnel decision since the idiots on the Apple board fired Steve Jobs many years ago. That decision nearly destroyed Apple and would have if Steve hadn't come back and saved them."

Not one averse to making his feelings known, Ellison's outburst adds fuel to the fire that HP's board wanted to rid themselves of Hurd.

He claimed the board voted six to four to go public on the sexual harassment accusation against Hurd. Later this was decided to be upgraded to a unanimous decision, which ultimately forced the resignation.

HP has strongly refuted this by saying the statement was unfounded and underlining its public statements.

The New York Times wrote that a "person with direct knowledge of the negotiations" stated APCO, a public relations firm advising the board, warned the directors they would face a public relations firestorm if the accusations of sexual harassment were made public.

"In losing Mark Hurd, the HP board failed to act in the best interest of HP's employees, shareholders, customers and partners," continued Ellison's email.

"The HP board admits that it fully investigated the sexual harassment claims against Mark and found them to be utterly false."

The investigation dismissed any claims of sexual misconduct and the complainant, Jodie Fisher, withdrew the charge and settled privately with Hurd. Both parties have denied having a romantic relationship.

Effectively, this implies that Hurd resigned over lying about expenses claims amounting to $20,000 (12,500) over two years. He also asserted that some of these were mistakenly filed by an assistant. Hurd has offered to pay back the money.

Influential financial magazine Barron's featured Hurd on this year's list of the world's top 30 CEOs across all business sectors.