Ellison Slams HP Board, Defends Friend

Ellison tells different story then HP board

Tuesday, Aug 10, 2010  |  Updated 8:23 AM PDT
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Ellison Slams HP Board, Defends Friend

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Oracle founder Larry Ellison is not only the highest paid executive of 2007 with a compensation package topping $84 million, but he is also the owner of the Rising Sun, a five-story yacht featuring a basketball court/helicopter pad, a cinema, a wine cellar and space for a private submarine.

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Late Monday Larry Ellison, Oracle's CEO and close friend of Mark Hurd, sent a scathing letter to the New York Times and Reuters denouncing HP's board of directors decision to ask Hurd to resign.

“The H.P. board just made the worst personnel decision since the idiots on the Apple board fired Steve Jobs many years ago,” wrote Ellison.

Hurd stepped down as HP CEO Friday amid a sexual harassment case that allegedly included filing false expense reports.

Ellison said the board voted 6-to-4 to go public with the sexual harassment claim against Hurd.  He also said the expense fraud allegation was "not credible," although he didn't give any evidence as to why or how he knew that. Reuters said HP disputes Ellison's version of events.  HP says the board took one vote and it was unanimous to ask Hurd for his resignation.

Here is the letter:

 "The HP Board just made the worst personnel decision since the idiots on the Apple Board fired Steve Jobs many years ago. That decision nearly destroyed Apple and would have if Steve hadn't come back and saved them. HP had a long list of failed CEOs until they hired Mark who has spent the last five years doing a brilliant job reviving HP to its former greatness.

"In losing Mark Hurd, the HP board failed to act in the best interest of HP's employees, shareholders, customers and partners. The HP board admits that it fully investigated the sexual harassment claims against Mark and found them to be utterly false.

"Nevertheless, the HP board then voted 6 to 4 go public with this sexual harassment claim against Mark because six of the directors believed that "full disclosure was good corporate governance". Publishing known false sexual harassment claims is not good corporate governance; it's cowardly corporate political correctness.

"Those six directors caused HP to lose a nearly irreplaceable CEO. Those six directors who voted against Mark can try hard to hide behind a claim of "good corporate governance" but their decision has already cost HP shareholders over $10 billion... and my guess (is) it's going to cost them a lot more.

"The final insult was when the HP board (was) going to the press and suggested that Mark Hurd engaged in expense fraud over a few thousand dollars. This is not credible. Mark Hurd, like most other CEOs, does not fill out his own expense reports, so even if errors were made Mark didn't make them.

"What the expense fraud claims do reveal is an HP board desperately grasping at straws in trying to publicly explain the unexplainable; how a false sexual harassment claim and some petty expense report errors led to the loss of one of Silicon Valley's best and most respected leaders."

"Since full disclosure seems to be the order of the day, I should disclose that Mark Hurd (is) a close friend and I am deeply offended by what just happened to him. If the HP board is offended by my comments... so be it."

Larry Ellison. CEO, Oracle Corporation

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