Sunday, October 03, 2010

Ellison 'speechless' after HP hires Apotheker as CEO

Oracle CEO Larry Ellison has been very open with his opinion of the decision of HP's board to out then-CEO Mark Hurd what amounted to an expense report scandal (though it seemed much more, at first). He even hired Mark Hurd as Oracle's co-president. His reaction to HP's decision to hire former SAP chief Leo Apotheker as its new CEO: he was speechless (at first).

We note the words "at first." Larry Ellison had plenty to say after mulling it over a while. Meanwhile, the stock market was quick to react: HP stock dropped $1.30, or 3 percent, to $40.77, after Apotheker's Thursday hiring.

In an email to the Wall Street Journal, Ellison wrote,
“I’m speechless. HP had several good internal candidates…but instead they pick a guy who was recently fired because he did such a bad job of running SAP. [...]

“None of the HP board members own much HP stock so they have little to lose,” he wrote. “But the HP employees, customers, partners and shareholders will suffer. [...]

“The HP board needs to resign en masse ... right away. The madness must stop.”
HP didn't feel Ellison's statements required a response, saying the comments did not “deserve the dignity of a response.”

After Ellison hired Hurd as co-president, HP sued Hurd for breach of contract, saying he violated the terms of his exit agreement. To settle the suit, Hurd eventually agreed to give up the roughly $30M in HP stock he was given as part of his severance package.

Since then, HP and Oracle have reaffirmed their ties to each other. The peace, it seems, was ended by a hiring that Ellison just couldn't avoid chiming in on. It should be noted, however, that SAP is Oracle’s largest competitor for business-application programs; Apotheker worked for there for more than 20 years.

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