Mark Hurd is widely regarded as a successful CEO, thanks to his role in reviving HP after the tumultuous reign of Carly Fiorina. His aggressive measures tripled HP’s profits and succeeded in making HP the leading PC and laptop manufacturer in the world. During his tenure, HP also surpassed IBM as the world’s largest technology company. Naturally, when the news of his resignation broke, a sizable section of the Silicon Valley, including the likes of the Oracle CEO, were sympathetic towards Hurd. However, while Hurd might have the support of a section of the shareholders and journalists, he is receiving little solidarity back home.
According to the figures provided by Glassdoor to TechCrunch, Hurd was in fact, one of the most unpopular CEOs in the US. His aggressive cost-cutting drive meant that he had a mere 36% approval rating. A disgruntled former HP employee has already dubbed him as a thug and revealed that he was nicknamed as Mark Turd by ex-HP employees. Here’s an excerpt from the HP Phenomenon blog:
This guy was a thug, nicknamed Mark Turd by ex-HPites who worked directly for him — stories that have circulated in the Valley for three years. He raped HP employees (figuratively, without violating the sexual conduct code at HP) by eliminating the sixty-five year concept of profit sharing, preferring to move to obscene bonuses for himself and his five top minions — a mere $113 million payout for them in a year he chopped everyone else’s pay by 5% plus profit-sharing. These were raises for some of the five people by as much as 400% — a tidy uptick.
He was profane, a bully, autocratic, threatening, demeaning, vindictive, and rude. Blogs over the weekend by current employees said “Hooray, the tyrant is gone!” I couldn’t contain my glee on the 11pm news — best news for HP in a very long time!
Reports suggest that HP’s board was advised by the PR firm APCO to take the moral high ground in order to avoid public scrutiny. Unfortunately, by forcing Hurd’s hand, HP has opened themselves up to the same glaring media headlines it had hoped to avoid. Even as pundits continue to debate the morality and the rationality behind the board’s decision, HP’s stock has shed 8.67% of its value since last Friday, and long term investors are beginning to feel itchy.