Blog archive

Oracle Co-CEO Mark Hurd, Dead at 62

Mark Hurd, Oracle's co-CEO and former HP chief executive, died on Friday of unspecified causes. He was 62.

Oracle CTO and co-founder Larry Ellison announced Hurd's passing in a short tribute on the executive's personal website, calling him a "close and irreplaceable friend and trusted colleague."

"Oracle has lost a brilliant and beloved leader who personally touched the lives of so many of us during his decade at Oracle," Ellison wrote. "All of us will miss Mark's keen mind and rare ability to analyze, simplify and solve problems quickly. Some of us will miss his friendship and mentorship. I will miss his kindness and sense of humor."

Hurd announced in September that he would be taking a medical leave of absence from Oracle to deal with health issues.

"Though we all worked hard together to close the first quarter," he said in a press release, "I've decided that I need to spend time focused on my health…. I love Oracle and wish you all success during my absence."

Hurd and Safra Catz were appointed co-CEOs of Oracle in September 2014. Hurd served as CEO at Hewlett-Packard from 2005 to 2010 during a period rocked by scandals, including accusations of sexual harassment by a female contract worker. An investigation found that Hurd had not violated HP's code of conduct, but also that he submitted inaccurate expense reports connected to dinners with the contractor after events she helped organize. He resigned on August 6, 2010.

Ellison defended Hurd, who was a friend, during the scandal, calling HP's decision to disclose the harassment claim "cowardly corporate political correctness." In a letter to the New York Times, Ellison said HP's board had "just made the worst personnel decision since the idiots on the Apple board fired Steve Jobs many years ago."

Hurd's time at HP also coincided an infamous spying scandal, in which the company hired private detectives to surveil its own directors and employees, as well as journalists, and even Hurd himself, to ferret out sources of news leaks. The PIs were later sentenced to three years' probation for using false identities to access the Social Security numbers and other information on HP board members, employees, and journalists.

HP sued Oracle after Hurd was hired, claiming that its former CEO would be unable to do his job without revealing HP's trade secrets. The companies quickly settled.

"Mark did a brilliant job at HP," Ellison said in a statement at the time, "and I expect he'll do even better at Oracle. There is no executive in the IT world with more relevant experience than Mark. Oracle's future is engineering complete and integrated hardware and software systems for the enterprise. Mark pioneered the integration of hardware with software when Teradata was a part of NCR."

At the time, Catz called Hurd "an outstanding executive and proven winner."

Hurd grew up in New York, but attended high school in Miami. He graduated from Baylor University with a degree in business administration, where he played tennis. At the time of his leave of absence, he served on Baylor's board of regents. He is survived by his wife, Paula, and two daughters.

Posted by John K. Waters on October 21, 2019