Hurd says he will re-build the board and fix the process

Hurd says he will re-build the board and fix the process

Summary: Adam Lashinsky of Fortune spoke with Mark Hurd this morning and elicited some revealing responses from the embattled HP CEO. Hurd said that he doesn't plan to resign, and will reconstitute the HP board, saying he would "re-build its very core.

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TOPICS: CXO
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Adam Lashinsky of Fortune spoke with Mark Hurd this morning and elicited some revealing responses from the embattled HP CEO. Hurd said that he doesn't plan to resign, and will reconstitute the HP board, saying he would "re-build its very core." Here's an excerpt from Adam's interview:

Okay, let's discuss the issue at hand. Regarding the now-famous scheme to send a false news story to CNET News in order to smoke out the board leaker - how good is your moral compass if you were willing to approve lying to the news media?

In our case, we had a fairly difficult situation, in terms of the fact that we had information that was strategic to Hewlett-Packard that continued to leak out of the company. We needed to stop it. Clearly the team's view was that they had to have some morsel of information to be able to attract the leaker. So that's the strategy.

What they wanted was my agreement that they could, what's the right word to describe it, dangle some important information in front of the leaker. And I agreed to that. Now, hindsight's 20/20. We get a little more experienced and a little smarter as we go through things. And I wouldn't do it again. But to be clear, I understood the team's strategy, and I agreed to that.

The fact remains that you describe it as a 'difficult situation.' But isn't a difficult situation exactly when someone's ethics are most important?

We could talk about this for a long time. It is what it is. We had a difficult situation. The team was working very hard to try to get the ... I've said enough.

Other than apologizing and promising to do better, which you've done repeatedly now, how can you convince investors, employees and the public that next time, you'll make the right decision in an ethical situation.


I don't know that you can every convince anybody with words. It takes actions.

Is there an action you are contemplating that will show that?

Well, we'll see.

See also: BusinessWeek has an in-depth profile of Hurd 

Topic: CXO

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4 comments
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  • Hurd Finally Seems Contrite; Carly's Biggest Shortcoming

    Mark Hurd has been a breath of fresh air since joining HP as CEO. His handling of the 'pretexting' scandal has been his first mistake. Finally, last week, he struck an appropriately contrite tone in his testimony and his comments here suggest he will continue to work on upgrading the board. (Something I've previously suggested needs addressing: http://breakoutperformance.blogspot.com/2006/09/problem-at-hp-wasnt-dunn-but-board.html) However, Mark Hurd is still the right man for this time in HP's development. In many ways, he is the anti-Carly. Carly's biggest shortcoming was that she could never appear contrite. She never struck her troops as an 'authentic leader' -- something that Hurd has a gift for: http://breakoutperformance.blogspot.com/2006/09/carlys-biggest-shortcoming.html .
    ejackson_ca
    • Yeah Right, Contrite

      Hitler was contrite too, huh? Hurd has not even said that he believes what he personally did (besides the lie about missing the email and meeting) was wrong.

      Hurd is damaged and has no credibility to build a new board.
      author20@...
  • Hurd's sorry alright...

    ... he is sorry he got caught. Sure, he understand the basic strategy. If he did not understand any specifics, it is because he never asked and deliberately did not get too curious. Just like any good leader who just signed off on something shady. "Plausible deniability."

    J.Ja
    Justin James
  • Hurd is Bankrupt -- He & Board are Damaged

    Hurd is Ethically Bankrupt, HR is Criminally Liable

    Rep DeGette Questions Hurd

    Hurd: At the time I agreed with the content of the email. ..In hindsight I wouldn't do it again.

    DeGette: All of these techniques....so you agree none of these are ethical?

    Hurd: I agree there is a difference between legal and ethical.

    Commentary: Hurd is clearly unfit to serve HP. Here, before the world, he won't tell the congress person his ethical position. He is telling the world that he is uncomfortable with this question and this is probably because he believes that unethical conduct that is not "illegal" is acceptable. That is the only reason you would say what he said.

    Should somebody with major problems communicating his ethical position -- on the most important investigation HP has ever faced -- be in charge of HP?

    This might be additional evidence that he was involved with the illegal spying, and the nonsense about him not reading an email critique of the spy project, or not attending key (portions) of a critical meeting -- is simply not credible.

    Hurd needs to step down. Because the HP board has not called for his resignation in light of his public display of moral bankruptcy, the HP board needs purging. This company is about to go out of business and they still won't clean house.

    This same board watched their general council remain in her job until minutes before she was to appear before the U.S. Congress! HP's board of directors has approved a severance package including $3.7 million in stock options for this scum-bag lawyer who OK'd everything. This board is also permitting the continued employment of the HR rep who handed over the SS# to the investigators. Amazing and unacceptable!

    There is still a criminal working inside of HP as this thing opens up. We all know that the HR department has a special responsibility to protect the privacy of all employees. There are state and federal laws making it a crime to provide social security numbers to unauthorized parties. HR Employee X is handing out socials like starbucks hands out lattes. Makes you wonder, "Who's social is being sold to the highest bidder today?" Why are they stil at HP and why are they not being prosecuted? To me, they violated many laws: 1)state privacy 2)federal privacy 3)state laws requiring HR to contact law enforcement 4)state laws requiring notification of the employees who were violated 5)state laws protecting phone company customers.

    HR is perhaps the last defense for privacy, and they are still running a department that has responsibility over tens of thousands of employees.

    Hurd and the board must go. HP is compromised. HP is rogue.
    author20@...