Mark Hurd with Evan Goldberg at Suiteworld 19 (c) Oracle
Mark Hurd with Evan Goldberg at Suiteworld 19

In a briefly worded and poignant statement Larry Ellison revealed that that Mark Hurd the CEO of Oracle and former CEO of HP died on Friday 18th 2019. Hurd took a leave of absence on medical grounds only a few short weeks ago. The reasons were not disclosed by Ellison and have not been made public. He is survived by his wife Paula and two daughters.

Hurd joins Oracle in 2010 and over the last decade has made a lasting impression on the company. He has at times been the friendlier face of Oracle and was certainly media savvy. He was able to be self-deprecating but always remained on message with a laser focus on delivering the continued growth that the company has achieved during his tenure with Safra Catz.

Early Career

Mark Hurd, CEO Oracle - Image Credit : Oracle
Mark Hurd, CEO Oracle

Unusually, Hurd only worked for three companies during his career, NCR, HP and Oracle. He joined National Cash Register Corporation (NCR) in San Antonio in 1980. He rose quickly during his 23 year career becoming Chief Executive Officer in 2003.

In 2005 HP lured him away and he took on the CEO role at one of Silicon Valley’s oldest firms. He was successful providing increased profits for 22 straight quarters. During his tenure revenue rose 63% and its stock price doubled.

There was some controversy during his time there, In 2006 information was leaked to the media. “Newsweek revealed that Hewlett-Packard’s general counsel, at the behest of HP chairwoman Patricia Dunn, had contracted a team of independent security experts to investigate board members and several journalists in order to identify the source of an information leak.” – Source Wikipedia. The company paid $14.5 in a settlement to the California Attorney General and although Dunn was cleared of charges the private investigator was named and sentenced to three months. Hurd was not involved in the controversy but as CEO commented: “While many of the right processes were in place, they unfortunately broke down and no one in the management chain, including me, caught it.”

In 2010 he left HP, with a severance package with an alleged sexual harassment claim against him. Hurd did not violate the company’s policy on sexual harassment but had been found to breach its expenses standards. HP’s loss was Oracle’s gain.

Ellison lost little time in both criticising HP in a letter to the New York Times saying: (HP) “just made the worst personnel decision since the idiots on the Apple board fired Steve Jobs many years ago.”

Oracle years

On his appointment as President at Oracle, Ellison noted in the press release: “Mark did a brilliant job at HP and I expect he’ll do even better at Oracle. There is no executive in the IT world with more relevant experience than Mark.”

At Oracle he reorganised the sales function and the strategy of the company to head towards the cloud. Four years after his arrival he was appointed CEO alongside Safra Catz with Ellison stepping aside from the day to day running.

Part of that was the recent acquisition of NetSuite. Which has continued to thrive under the hands off approach that Hurd adopted for the cloud start up. A more detailed biography can be found here.

Enterprise Times: What does this mean

Mark Hurd will be missed, both within and outside Oracle. A skilled speaker he could engage with an audience naturally. This was shown during the 2017 Suiteworld when he took to the stage after the Oracle acquisition of NetSuite. His performance, assured, friendly and supportive did much to allay some of the fears amongst the customers. He answered questions freely from the audience and only jokingly complained when the first couple were asked by journalists. Mark Hurd was a giant in the industry and will be missed greatly.


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