back to article Did Hewlett-Packard overreact on Hurd's Fishergate?

After its tumultuous time under president and chief executive Carly Fiorina followed by the journalist spying scandal that cost chairman Patricia Dunn her job, you can't blame Hewlett-Packard's board for being a little jumpy about a sex scandal and padded expenses. Or maybe you can, especially if cutting the cord on CEO, …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Gates Halo

    Outcomes matter..........................

    While the fact that he went in response to expenses disscrepancies and a seedy, failed sexual daliance might make us smile and enjoy his humiliation, to the majority of HP staff it doesn't really matter why Hurd was pushed out. The fact that he has gone is good enough.

    Yesterday we were told that the payout he received was to ease a rapid separation. That does stick in the throat for a workforce that has earned less year on year since Hurd arrived while Executive compensation went up by over 200%.

    Hurd was a one trick pony. The workforce hated him, even the sycophants that did well under him could see that. This may well be just an excuse to get rid of him. But that doesn't matter. What does matter is that they need to force a proper separation of the President, CEO & Chairman's roles and get some sense of governance of the CEO back into HP.

    A bit of innovation by investment rather than acquisition and some proper investment in OnShore resource wouldn't hurt either. That rules Livermore out for a start.

    Steve Mills may be a sensible way to go. At least he'll understand that boxes and ink are pretty much generic so the customer goes for the cheapest with support. Hurd, in his arrogance, spent a fortune on EDS and then stripped it of morale, talent and ability. Mills, as a software man, might just have the nouse to do something to fix that blindingly idiotic error.

  2. Anonymous Coward


    I'm still far from convinced that this wasn't some big elaborate way for Hurd to escape before the house of cards falls down.

    His one plan since day 1 has been "how many people can we fire today?". Now this type of strategy pays off really well. At first.

    But eventually you cut too far, and everything comes crashing down.

    He's taken his bonuses and now he's being paid off before his reputation as a one-trick pony is revealed.

  3. Anonymous Coward

    A new CEO?

    Isn't Jonathan Schwartz still looking for a job? lol

  4. Anonymous Coward

    There is an old proverb

    The comparison with the HP, IBM, etc founding fathers and their fondness for factories near their favourite ski slopes is actually spot on.

    The ancient proverb sais: if you steal a penny you are a thief, if you steal a million you become a banker.

    The HP, IBM, etc founding fathers did not pad 1K worth of expenses while on a 15M package. In fact doing so shows an error of judgement which automatically disqualifies anyone from running a multi-billion business. If you are running a shop the size of HP all you need is to gently nudge it in the right direction for your "expenses" to become legit. If you cheat instead this means that you _CANNOT_ direct the business where you want it. That is definitely a sackable offence and sacking should be applied not for "padding" but for incompetence and failure to perform.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      The article might miss a point Re: ski lodges

      Founding fathers, as majority shareholders and therefore stakeholders or more commonly 'owners', can do what they want. Surely that is the point of starting one's own business in the first place? Factory location is also an overt and strategic activity and more about proximity, rather than the underhand fiddling and cheating of dollars that Hurd was dismissed for - of which details will emerge.

      Walter Hewlett, thriwn off board in 2002 for dissenting with Fiorina about the CPQ acquisition, but have smiled when he heard this latest HP fiasco.

  5. NoSh*tSherlock!

    It's time for somebody to build the company and the people

    I would suggest Dan Warmenhoven has the standing, experience and ethical background for chairman - and with his record of getting staff to love working for the company will make the most dramatic positive change. This will fulfill the leadership requirement.

    A separate need is for execution for which many of the mentioned candidates are more suitable.

  6. Anonymous Coward

    "Is that not fudging the expenses?"

    "Is that fudging the expenses? You're damned right it is."

    Mr Prickett-Morgan seems unable to distinguish between the case of an honest employer making a fair and honest (but personal) choice of where to site his next factory, and a dishonest one dishonestly abusing the expenses system.

    I guess many managers have the same problem, when their own expenses are concerned. Things are a lot simpler when it's Joe Public accused of expense fiddling or benefit fiddling or whatever.

  7. WS

    Fetch Dick

    Time to bring in Dick Brown? He'll soon fix the share price.

  8. CS

    The Board was right

    In my opinion The Board got it exactly right, it was time for Hurd to go. Maybe the misgivings of just about every employee in HP about the way Hurd and his cohort were/are doing things will be listened to now, and things will improve, let's hope so!

  9. Anonymous Coward


    Enough with the "gating" of every last fucking scandal. Jesus! I'm not brought to swearing often but for fuck's sake!

    1. Sarah Bee (Written by Reg staff)

      Re: Fishergate?

      Why does this upset you? Why do I keep having to field comments like this? Save your knicker-twisting for something worthwhile, like, I dunno, the appalling abuse of 'random'.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Fishergate?

        The ire of such undergarment-contortion is not intended for you, Moderatrix, but for practitioners of the "journalism" trend of "if we rub up against it enough, we'll get a Pulitzer too", meaning that in the parade of puppies that is the political everyday of the modern era, the boy gets to cry wolf thousands of times (whilst being the only one who thinks putting "gate" on the end of some name or other is in any way amusing or fitting).

        1. Trevor_Pott Gold badge

          Off topic

          As a pure hypothetical, although I really should know this, If you break a super-deluxe uber news story that alters the balance of power as regards life, the universe and everything then you get a Pulitzer, right? (Assuming it is well written.) I was however always under the impression that the internet was an invisible wall to this: the fact that The Register doesn't have a print edition means that it would be (at least politically given the current climate) impossible.

          Now admittedly I’m not all that up on who gets the Pulitzer when and for what, (which given that I rather like journalism I probably should have an interest in,) but I seem to recall some pretty big anti-internet prejudices in the journalism community. Yes? No? Am I totally out to lunch on this one?

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    There are things much worse than fiddling your expenses

    Like pathgenic parasitic management. When a company enjoys a degree of success complacency sets in and that attracts a small army of parasitic managers. But they are not the kind of parasites that let live the host. They are like a plague that push away talent so that nobody can threaten them. Eventually the host (for example, Microsoft in America or Nokia in Europe) dies... and what then? The parasitic managers go on to find another victim!

    1. Loyal1

      What a Good Analagy - Parasitic Management Infestations Indeed Prevail

      ..middle managers barracade talent out with Process and strict chain of command upward communications, then get down to the serious business of managing by constantly pushing back under the guise of 'reasonableness'. This stifles both the top dogs and skilled individual contributor groups from communicating effectively and exchanging views and ideas. In turn this slows decisions and renders Strategy redundant, since the PARASITES are by now using all of the organisations Powerpoint/EXcel resources to keep the other groups apart.

      Middle managers eh?

  11. Munchausen's proxy

    Golden handshake

    "This would have been less disruptive and would not have cost as much as the $40m to $50m in payouts that Hurd will be due with his golden handshake."

    Or they could have treated him like any low-level manager who got caught stealing in order to try to nail a booth babe - personal belongings in a cardboard box, and escorted out the door by security.

  12. jon 68

    Over react? I'd propose it didn't go far enough

    that's me looking for the broom in my pocket..

    the truth is they should have done a clean sweep.

    Several of the senior execs are starting to look long in the tooth, and they cowed entirely too easy to overbearing Hurd, supporting decisions they knew were wrong for the company in the long run.

  13. Anonymous Coward

    Padmasree Warrior at HP?

    Probably not a good choice for any company which wants to succeed.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Building sites in nice places same as fudging expenses?

    I disagree. I am an alumnus of the Northern Colorado sites. You can recruit REALLY smart, hard working employees to places like that. Easy commuting, inexpensive housing, great recreation relatively nearby (2-4 hrs drive), very good schools in collage towns. If this were just about fudging expenses, why not just attend "customer visits" to Lockheed-Martin or the other big businesses in Denver? And Denver is closer to the big ski resorts than Loveland or Ft. Collins.

  15. Trevor_Pott Gold badge

    Oracle merging wih HP.


  16. Man Mountain

    I love it when a plan comes together

    So it's probably safe to say that Hurd wasn't that popular, but I'm not sure all this criticism about him running the company into the ground, strategy being wrong in the long run, etc. I think HP has had a cracking few years in all fairness, and the strategy is strong moving forward, potentially uniquely strong. As the very first poster said, it's about realising that hardware is generic and commoditised which HP actually did some time ago and is driving commoditisation and standardisation in the marketplace. And who is better positioned to drive that than the company with the world's largest supply chain and absolute dominance in industry standard servers. Noone can deliver convergence to the level that HP can. Everyone else needs a partnership or alliance and that means instability. HP's strategy now is finally the Eureka moment from lots of things that have happened over a number of years. Lots of marketing speak and sometimes curious acquisitions all falling into place into a surprisingly coherent strategy. For what it's worth, I think HP has got it right and Hurd or no Hurd, will continue on what is already a well established path. This is not a critical time in terms of HP's evolvement or they would not have let him go. This is the time when it's all falling into place regardless of who is at the helm.

  17. dbnnet

    He was pushed.....

    Just ask corporate customers what they think of HP these days.... it will become obvious that something had gone horribly awry at HP and why Hurd was probably pushed out, with much hast by the board of directors. Over the past 5 years all HP customers saw were cost cutting, retrenchments, office closures and an inability to execute. IBM must have thought Hurd was the best thing since sliced bread... all they had to do was sit and wait as HP's customers came knocking at their door.

    In time HP will probably recover from their 2nd bad CEO in a row, but hopefully the era of a one trick pony has ended and real leadership will appear. If not HP will indeed land up being nothing more than a division of Oracle Corporation or split up into various individual companies!!!

    1. Well out of it!

      Pushed? Not before time!

      Maybe HP will recover in time, but they have pissed off so many clients and existing staff, that it's going to be a very long struggle. And many of the best people have already left and gone elsewhere, making it even harder.

      And this acquisition trail that sees them buying in companies, and their profits, has got to stop - it has only served to mask a lack of profitability for the rump HP business, which is still substantially focused on commodities such as printers, PCs, servers and consumer items.

  18. John 62

    choosing sites

    so if there's a ski lodge nearby, that's fudging expenses, but if the government gives you massive grants and low interest loans for choosing a politically correct site that's OK then.

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