NEW YORK: Silicon Valley technology giant Oracle Corp has hired Mark Hurd, the former chief executive of Hewlett-Packard Co (HP) who resigned amid a scandal, as president.
Hurd, a close friend of Oracle chief executive officer Larry Ellison would replace Charles Phillips who has resigned, Oracle said in a statement on Monday.
Phillips was co-president alongside Safra Catz, who remains in her role.
Ellison had slammed HP’s decision to oust Hurd, calling the actions of HP’s board “cowardly.”
Hurd resigned from HP on Aug 6, after a probe into sexual harassment allegations.
HP said at the time that he filed inaccurate expense reports related to Jodie Fisher, a marketing contractor who worked for Hurd’s office from 2007 through 2009.
“Mark did a brilliant job at HP and I expect he’ll do even better at Oracle,” said Ellison in a statement on Monday.
Shares in HP are down 13% since Hurd’s resignation. Plucked from relative obscurity to head HP, Hurd is credited with resuscitating the technology giant by cutting costs and pursuing ambitious acquisitions.
HP said the expense reports were meant to hide a “close personal relationship” with Fisher, a sometime actress who has appeared in television shows and movies.
Oracle, the world’s third largest software maker, competes with HP as well as with International Business Machines Corp and SAP.
“I believe Oracle’s strategy of combining software with hardware would enable Oracle to beat IBM in both enterprise servers and storage,” Hurd said in Monday’s statement.
In June, Oracle reported a quarterly profit that exceeded Street projections and a 14% climb in sales of new software, signalling the tech spending recovery is on track as businesses shell out on big-ticket items again.
“Oracle is clearly capitalising on this opportunity to get someone strong from a top hardware company,” said Forrester analyst James Staten. “In terms of how this helps Oracle against IBM, there is reason to be optimistic.”
Still, Staten noted there would now be two strong personalities at the top.
“So Mark Hurd would have someone who’s very hands-on sitting above him,” Staten said. “But we have to assume they’ll get along.”
Phillips, along with Oracle’s other president Catz, had at one time been seen as a possible successor to Ellison.
A former star software analyst at Morgan Stanley, Phillips was put on the spot earlier this year when huge billboards depicting the married software executive with YaVaughnie Wilkins, his former mistress, appeared in New York, Atlanta and San Francisco.
The billboards with the words “You are my soulmate forever!” appeared to be an attempt by Wilkins to embarrass Phillips after their relationship ended and he returned to his wife.
He was also publicly corrected by his company after he said Oracle could “easily” spend about double the US$35bil it had spent over the past five years.
That prompted a company spokeswoman to issue a statement saying the company did not have a five-year marketing and advertising budget.
Ellison said in Monday’s statement that Phillips had approached him last December “and expressed his desire to transition out of the company”.
Ellison said in the statement he asked him to stay on through the integration of Sun Microsystems. – Reuters
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