Loved By Wall Street, Hated By His Employees – Now He’s President

After tripling profits during his tenure at his previous company, the powerful men and women of Wall Street praised him. After slashing 50,000 jobs in five years and cutting costs across the board, he was the most hated man in tech. Now, he makes his move to a company whose own CEO came to his defense when most wouldn’t dare.

In a move that was widely speculated upon in recent days, ex-HP CEO Mark Hurd joined the Oracle executive team as co-president and gained a seat on the board of directors. This comes alongside news that Charles Phillips, another Oracle co-president and director, resigned.

Larry Ellison, the billionaire founder and CEO of Oracle, was one of the few who stood up for Hurd during the scandal that forced the HP CEO to resign, said Monday that “Mark did a brilliant job at HP, and I expect he’ll do even better at Oracle. There is no executive in the IT world with more relevant experience than Mark.” More than anything, this proves that Ellison’s early comments defending Hurd weren’t just lip service.

Hurd’s track record at HP is indisputable. He took over the struggling tech giant, cut costs mercilessly, and oversaw a 300% increase in profits during his tenure as CEO. For this, he gained respect among investors on Wall Street, and HP’s share price recovered from the failed Carly Fiorina era and steadily rose. For this, Hurd’s reputation took a heavy hit among employees.

According to a report, Hurd was the most hated CEO in tech. He had a 34% approval rating, and a 66% disapproval rating. His approval rating dipped as low as 19% in the second quarter of 2009. In comparison, Apple CEO Steve Jobs had a 98% approval, 2% disapproval rating, and Cisco CEO John Chambers had an 81% approval, 19% disapproval rating. Oracle CEO, Larry Ellison, who is Hurd’s new boss, had a 78% approval, 22% disapproval rating.

Image Credit: TechCrunch,

The reasons behind these numbers aren’t exactly a mystery. As Mark Hurd made drastic cost cuts at HP, employees at the tech company were stripped of many of the benefits and luxuries they had grown accustomed to. Let’s not forget to mention the 50,000 employees Hurd cut, many of whom surely had friends still at HP who weren’t too happy with the extra workload they now were responsible for. Anytime a manager requires more productivity and revenues from fewer employees and resources, stress will skyrocket and employee morale is likely to plummet. With employee satisfaction being a significant factor in productivity at any company, this situation begs the question many managers face on a daily basis: “How can I squeeze the greatest profits from the fewest resources?

Hurd left his old employer disgraced and hated, but success in his new position at Oracle may redeem him among detractors. The balance between cost-cutting and employee satisfaction is a fine line, and it will be intriguing to see how Hurd chooses to fulfill his new role as co-president.

Have you ever faced this dilemma? Did you hold cost-cutting measures personally against your boss, or do you recognize it as their duty to maximize profits at any cost? Share in a comment below.


About Michael Dossett

Inactive since Sept. 2011

Posted on September 7, 2010, in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. Public image plays a role…I get that. When maintaining it comes at the expense of the shareholders, I don’t agree with it. I agree with Larry Ellison when he came out against HP’s board, which was only looking for an excuse to fire Hurd. His employee approval rating was poor, but results do not lie. He did his job. Muffing expense reports is a sanctionable offense, but not suitable for termination given his track record of success. Guess it was just time.

  2. Those are shocking numbers. As a woman in the workplace, I understand why this is a tough situation for the board. HP has a lot of female employees and it may be hard do them to find legitimacy in any of Hurd’s orders due to his history of sexual misconduct.

  3. It’s tough to be a CEO in a tough economy. If you succeed and make money, you’re hated for being greedy. If you are forced to fire employees to make sure the business doesn’t fail, people hate you for being insensitive and self-serving. These guys and gals have virtually impossible jobs, similar to the President of the US. Do one thing, people will hate you for it. Do the exact opposite, they’ll hate you for that too. Can’t take these numbers too critically, though they may be used as a general benchmark.

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