Late last week a surprise came from HP when it announced that its then-CEO Mark Hurd had stepped down amidst a sexual harassment investigation.
Chuck House, a former HP worker of 29 years and author of "The HP Phenomenon: Innovation and Business Transformation" (Stanford Press, 2009) is shedding more light on the situation in his blog HP Phenomenon.
While the woman who was involved with Mark Hurd said that there were no intimate sexual relations involved (but settled with Hurd on monetary terms privately), the HP CEO was still found to have violated company policy through improper expense reports.
House wrote in his blog:
A few mis-stated expense reports, that "totalled" somewhere between $1,000 and $20,000? This turned out (missed by nearly all the columnists) to be for EACH ONE. The 2008 10K report says Hurd was re-imbursed $79,814 in tax "True-ups" for the estimated $243,000 in "personal meals" that he ate on behalf of HP. This was in the midst of the three years cited with "his girl friend" -- sounds like a little more money than the initial reports.
House also said that HP employees didn't like Hurd very much, characterizing him as a thug:
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!
The Voice of the Workplace, HP's thirty-five year historic 'measure' of employee feelings (done every five years) showed in April an astonishing finding -- more than two-thirds of HP's employees would quit tomorrow if they had an equivalent job offer. Not a raise, not a promotion, simply an alternative. That number never used to be in double digits. Other companies in the Valley have reported an amazing rate of HP resumes being submitted; one large company saying, "we didn't know they had that many people working there".
Of course, this is just one man's take on the situation, but the numbers are there to suggest that Mark Hurd had one of the lowest CEO approval ratings in the tech industry.