HP CEO Mark Hurd linked to 'dirty tricks'

HP CEO Mark Hurd linked to 'dirty tricks'

Summary: This morning I questioned whether HP CEO Mark Hurd would escape from HPGate unscathed. Apparently not.

TOPICS: Hewlett-Packard
This morning I questioned whether HP CEO Mark Hurd would escape from HPGate unscathed. Apparently not. News.com is reporting, via the Washington Post, that Hurd approved of an e-mail ruse involving reporter Dawn Kawamoto that involved planting a bogus news tip that, hopefully, would be followed up and leave a trail back to an HP leaker. The legality of the 'dirty tricks' is not clear, but it is at least unethical and not something the CEO would want to be associated with. 

Stay tuned tomorrow. HP is holding a press conference, with Hurd in attendance, in the San Francisco Bay Area after the stock market closes at 1 p.m. PDT.

Topic: Hewlett-Packard

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  • Is protecting one's IP a bad thing ??

    If a CEO (or Chairperson) agrees that means need to be taken to protect his/her company's Intellectual Property from being leaked is that somehow irresponsible?

    In fact, it is their responsibility to the shareholders and employees to guard their assets in a highly competitive and fast-moving industry.

    Assuming they have no skill sets in espionage, it is natural that this job is out-sourced to organizations who specialize in this.

    Assuming a fair amount of due-diligence is exercised in selecting these organizations, these officers should be held harmless.

    If a Private Investigation firm employs illegal methods in their search for intelligence, then THEY ALONE should be held responsible for any wrongdoing.

    The hiring parties cannot be expected to oversee every detail of how an outsourcer performs a given task.
  • Is that a dirty trick ??

    I think the planting of false leaks is a pretty standard counter-intelligence tactic. How do you feel about waterboarding suspects ???
  • zdnet sensationalizing things

    Zdnet as usual sensationalizing when there is no need to. It was hardly a scandal. The only reason zdnet is sensationalizing the issue is because CNET reporters are in the picture.
  • Mark Hurd was always a jerk

    I am extremely familiar with Mark Hurd and his way of running things. He was ALWAYS a jerk, ALWAYS made bad decisions, and ALWAYS had a digusting Gordon Gecko complex. The difference between today and yesterday is that today he is involved with overtly unethical and probably illegal activities. Yesterday he was running HP (and before that, NCR) *into the ground* by slashing needed staff and forcing whoever was left into cutting every single bloody corner possible to make do. His whole business philsophy is based on customer churn, just promise the world, lock in the customer, then do not deliver on the good because you refuse to have the staff. One of his "masterstrokes" was to lay off 1/3rd of onsite techs, and then offer them their jobs back with the "contracting company" that NCR conveniently *owned* at a 1/3rd pay cut and loss of benefits and time in company and time in position.

    The stockholders loved his dirty, disgusting, foul, unethical way of running a business because it appeared to improve the fundamentals (when you beg 50% of your customers to stay with you because you cannot meet SLA on a regular basis, I would say your fundamentals stink) enough to triple the stock price.

    Where's Elliot Spitzer? I would love to see him nail Mark Hurd to the wall.

    Justin James
    • Don't sugar-coat it !

      Wow !! Did you by chance used to work at NCR (or perhaps HP?) I can't remember the last time I saw any NCR gear sitting around an IT shop. I can tell you though, that kind of behavior won't cut it in data centers.

      I have not head yet of any customer complaints, but there is always a buffer effect where the front-line sales force shields them from back-room problems. That can only last so long, and when THEIR loyalty goes, no amount of executing apologies and tap-dancing will save an account.

      There are too few barriers and too many choices out there to mistreat customers. I hope for the sake of the HP workforce that you are not 100% right. They have a lot of smart, honorable people whose livelihoods are at stake.
      • Sure did

        This summarizes my experiences in a Mark Hurd run organization (I prefer not to state which one, but yes, I was employed at one point by either NCR or HP, in managed services):


        The only way Hurd's method's work are to lock customers in with long contracts and make big promises to the customers. He likes to lock them in with early contract withdrawl penalties. Essentially, Hurd-run companies go like cell phone carriers. They promise you the best service at a low rate, blame you (or outside influences) for the problems, make you pay through the nose to leave early if you are not satisfied, and the only time you get 100% effort is during the initial trial phase of the contract, and near the end of the contract.

        Here is a great example: logistics. At one point, the company itself had their own supply chain, built over years and perfected to deliver parts well within SLA. It was expensive though, because you needed to be fully stocked across the country to handle anything that might come up or to deal with sudden spikes in parts usage. So the company outsourced the bulk supply chain to [no company name will be mentioned], a global supply chain "expert." This supply chain company simply did not have the ability to deliver parts within SLA as often or accurately as the company's inhouse logistics team. However, SLA misses caused by third party vendors were not penalized in the contracts, a small oversight that a lot of customers will make. So what you get is a technician onsite within SLA, but no part, and the SLA ding gets passed on to the third party logistics company. Slick, huh? Contractually, the company was OK, but the customers were getting burned, they were paying for service that could not happen as expected, and SLA "dings" and penalties are a small consolation when your network is down.

        Here is another slick trick: promise a customer 4 hour service, when the very expensive equipment (a "T-Bird" tester, in the case I handled) is only stored in 10 major cities across the USA. Meanwhile, the service contract is well outside of those 10 major cities, so whenever a customer needs that equipment, the SLA is most likely going to be missed, nearly every single time. They knew that equipment would only be used a few times a year, and it was extremely costly, so they weighed the cost of the equipment (very expensive) against the penalties for missing SLA, and decided that it was cheaper to miss SLA a few times a year, than to purchase enough equipment to meet SLA. In other words, they planned for failure, because to have the resources to hit the SLA targets, they would have not been cost competitive.

        Onsite technicians got the bad end of the stick a lot too. Right before I left, all of the onsite technicians were re-classified, based not on not just what they were qualified to do, but what type of calls they ran most often. The technicians who had to have the most knowledge were the 2nd and 3rd shift workers, because the reduced staff levels during those shifts made them need to know *all* of the equipment. However, the call type distribution remained about the same. So guys who could work on anything and everything were reclassified as "low end" technicians because the bulk of their calls were low end calls. Meanwhile, they were the people who took the extra training, got the experience, and sacrificed a family life to be on 2nd and 3rd shift, and they got a raw deal.

        Yes, Mark Hurd and the executives around him are really well trained in the art of running a company into the ground. Their primary motivation is stock price, not actual company performance. Wall Street loves to see headcount reductions and labor costs get lower, so by squeezing the workers as hard as possible, his share options gain value. Hooray for paying executives with options instead of a flat paycheck.

        The previously mentioned "contracting company" was actually in violation of the legal definition of "contractor". They even had "contractors" managing permanent employees, and the contracting company's recruiters were onsite! It was obscene. Your greatest goal in life was to be converted to permanent. Imagine groveling for sometimes *years* just to be on equal employment footing with your co-workers doing the same job you are?

        These kinds of things are only sucessful now, because the dot-com boom is over. When if was possible for anyone to just quit their job and get a new job with a 15% raise whenever they wanted, these practices would never have worked. But in the current economic state, people are afraid to rock the boat. During my training, I actually had one of the trainers tell someone, "shut up and be grateful that you even have a job, you just got hired soyou know how hard jobs are to come by right now." Management by terror, what a great concept.

        I feel bad for the people currently working at HP. I know that they have a ton of smart people there (even if the salesperson I called a while back when shopping for a server forgot to get my phone number or email address, and therefore was unable to respond to me) who work their butts off every day for a well deserved paycheck. Every company I have every worked for was predominantly staffed by caring people who just wanted to do the right thing, but when the executive level acts and behaves like this to their own front line people, it is no surprise to me when they spy on their own board members. you play with a snake, you get bit.

        Justin James
        • WOW !!!

          Sincere thanks for the detailed and personal info. It certainly does bode ill for such tactics if the economy grows strong once again (and lucrative jobs for smart people become less scarce)

          The tactics you describe absolutely appeal to the quarter-by-quarter whims of Wall Street.

          I recall when Hurd was first hired, and the Street was calling to spin off PCs and printers (a la IMB/Lenovo) Hurd replied that he would not "let day traders decide how to run his company)

          I though that was pretty bold back then, but I guess a small taste of success can cause an acceleration of natural tendencies.

          This industry is far more consolidated that it was even during the first "dot com boom." Besides HP, there is really only IBM and to a lesser extent, Sun and Dell who provide the kinds of "soup to nuts" solutions necessary to serve the needs of very large enterprises. I don't know how may other companies could absorb a fleeing workforce with the skill sets of HP's.

          Until some radical economic upheaval occurs (and this is highly unlikely to happen under the current administration)the "management by terror" of which you speak will probably remain the predominant culture in most of the big vendors who compete for talent.

          Thanks again for the thoughtful discourse based on personal experience. There is far too little of that on these boards !
        • Greetings from Venezuela

          Dear J. Ja.

          I am impressed by what you wrote. I think you are correct on the things you wrote.

          Let's hope this kind of management end soon. honorable managament will never be replace by tricky managament of self centered people.

          I do agree with you. Hp CEO will prove to be the destruction of HP, If HP don't forsee it's fate.

          I am sorry by my english I hope I made myself understood.. hehehe

          Thanks a lot you have a friend here in Venezuela

          Antonio Ortega
          Teldata C.A.
          • Saludos de los Estados Unidos !

            Saludos, amigo de Venezuela. Gracias por proporcionar el aceite de calefacci?n barato para los pobres de nuestras ciudades.

            Es triste que nuestros presidentes repective tienen problemas el uno con el otro. Pienso que nuestros ciudadanos todos ser?an buenos amigos.

            ?Quiz?s un d?a, nuestros ni?os entender?n mejor c?mo vivir juntos!
          • Saludos a ti Jack

            Thanks for sharing with me your thoughts...

            Our presidents are friends I am pretty sure about it. if that we're not true Venezuela would not be number 6 bussines associate with USA! interesting no?

            Well I am sure our children will learn how to behave better than us if we do realize the impact of our actions now. I think you do my friend.

            you do have a friend in Vzla. I hope we can continue to send oil... but better to send our hearts to you all.

  • Are You Kidding ...?

    Do you have kids? Do you have a wife? Would you believe these crazy stories if they told you the same kind of story you are now choosing? Come on! Your story is better if you just admit and move on. You are now sounding like Clinton, "I DID NOT HAVE SEXUAL RELATIONS WITH THAT WOMAN" and "WELL IT DEPENDS WHAT YOU MEAN BY DEPENDS ..."