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tscoll

HP and Mark Hurd and pathethic wastes of time and I hope they both rot long and miserable into eternity.
IBM a good company? Bob, whoever your friend is is not very well-informed. The company that *never* fired, employee-centric to the end has led the way in callous and inhumane treatment of their employees since 1992. In fact, they played Pied Piper as always to the rest of the greedy monster called corporate America.
It was easy to see Hurd was as slimy as a greased toad. I have made my children promise to *never* work for corporate America.

Jeff

Say what you like about Mark Hurd, but like Benito Mussolini in WW-II era Italy (a real Fascist, not one of those wimpy imitations we have these days), "he made the trains run on time". When Carly Fiorina took over HP from Lew Platt, it was a dinosaur on the road to extinction. HP had literally 87 independent business units, each fully autonomous and fighting against each other for the same customer dollar. Organizational theorists have written about the "warring tribes" model -- HP was a perfect example. Carly made a key strategic move in spinning off Agilent, and filling in critical gaps in the remaining product lines by bringing in Compaq. But she couldn't be bothered with bringing the hammer down on divisions that put their own interests ahead of HP's, and which didn't realize that to be able to spend money on employee well-being, you first have to make a profit. When I joined Compaq a decade earlier, we had revenue exceeding $1 million per employee and everyone knew what the company goals were and how they contributed, and the organization was as agile as a flock of birds or a school of fish. That kind of coordination is still a dream for HP, but I'm skeptical that the mythical HP Way could have ever achieved it, either.

Laocoon

This blog post and the comments reinforce my impression that Hurd was forced out and the harassment/expense story was analogous to getting Al Capone on tax evasion. I hope that HP gets their act together, but culture change takes time.

Bad conduct at the CEO level rapidly sets an example of what gets rewarded. To paraphrase Gresham's Law, bad conduct drives out good.

As an HP retail customer, I've had a horrendous experience with them during the Mark Hurd tenure. I bought a high end consumer desktop from them in 2008. There was an obvious hardware problem with the graphics card. Enough others were affected that the problem made the top 10 google hits when I searched on it. HP was totally indifferent to the problem. The customer blogs were white-hot with over 300 comments on this problem and the horrible treatment that people were getting from HP. Moreover, a customer rep commented on the board about conduct and made no attempt to help customers with the problem. Customer phone service was impossible for 8 months.

I bought a replacement card. After 1 hour on the phone, HP agreed to reimburse me for the new card. No recall or replacement came out for another 4 months, at a total of one year since I bought the computer. You bet I sent in my old one also.

If you think company culture doesn't matter, add up $150 for the purchased card, another $100-150 for the two replacement cards [the first HP reolacement was with the exact same card that had the exact same problem], plus countless hours of HP's time as well as my own.

Clearly HP made no profit from their sale to me. Additionally, I will never buy another computer from them again because of the arrogant and unproductive culture that wasted so much of my time and energy.

Assholes cost their companies plenty, just make sure you measure the right things and you'll see how fast it adds up to real money.

Caroline

As an employee of HP, the first time I saw Mark speak at a sales conference, I could not stand the man. He was glib, arrogant, and self-congratulatory. All the qualities I hate! We had our best sales year and had surpassed every quota set, and we were number 1 in the world, and all he did was gripe that his other CEO friends asked why HP couldn't break a trillion. I haven't been able to stand the man since, and I pray all the "Mini-Marks" are next. There's plenty of them! RIP Mark Hurd.

sk

Bob, I'm sorry this is not directly on topic, but I'm curious to hear your opinion.

You mentioned Google as one of the companies that treat employees well. There is no doubt that the free lunches and other employee services Google provides are enlightened good practices. However, Google has a reputation for practicing age discrimination under the guise of "cultural fitness" (the supreme court ruling in Brian Reid's on-going lawsuit being a recent reminder of this). How do you square the idea of a company being good to its employees if it has institutionalized discrimination against a protected class? Isn't this just institutionalized asshole-ishness?

stereoroid

Assholes sometimes get their due, eh? Well, Mr. Hurd's dues include a 7-figure "golden parachute" on top of the massive salaries and options he's had so far. He exercised millions in options back in May this year. Coincidence?

HP Employee

Mark Hurd is a greedy jerk who only looked out for Wall Street and not the good of HP. Now the stock will slump and his damage is done. We need people who care about the company and it's people running HP, not someone who only cares about the stock price. I'm glad Mark is gone!

Neola Mace

I worked at NCR from 1995 to 2001. In 1999 I was pulled into an emergency project where a small team saved a $65+ million account. We won the Chairman's Award (Lars Nyberg was CEO at the time) and were rewarded with a trip to the Bahamas and New Orleans. We went to many social functions with NCR executives, and I can tell you from personal experience that Mark Hurd was rude, dismissive, and condescending, an all-around jerk. Perhaps his bad behavior wouldn't have stuck out so much if the other executives had not been so classy, interesting, smart and funny. He clearly thought he was above this type of mixing with the riff-raff and it showed in every word and deed.

I also had many painful experiences with him on conference calls and meetings where he managed to alienate and scare everyone listening. I think he was a terrible "leader" and can't imagine that any positive momentum came from his dreadful personal style.

Jeff Shattuck

Interesting, when I first heard about Hurd's departure and why I muttered, "I always thought he was an asshole." It was totally baseless, but maybe my instincts were right?

What was not baseless was my assessment of him as a boring bean counter. God, what a dull human being. He should go run Microsoft, now. Ballmer is a certified asshole, so the troops at MSFT would be well prepped. More important, Microsoft's only realistic business plan is tho die as slowly as possible and who better than a bean counter to make that happen?

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