The sudden forced resignation of HP CEO Mark Hurd following sexual harassment allegations may not have gone over well with Oracle’s CEO Larry Ellison, who called the HP Board “idiots,” but the sentiment was not shared by the majority of HP employees. In the wake of Hurd’s departure, HP employees are beginning to speak out, claiming that Hurd was “profane, a bully, autocratic, threatening, demeaning, vindictive, and rude” according to HP Phenom, a popular HP-focused blog run by a former employee, Chuck House, who now runs Stanford’s Industry Affiliate research program on media and technology.
“He raped HP employees (figuratively, without violating the sexual conduct code at HP) by eliminating the sixty-five year concept of profit sharing, preferring to move to obscene bonuses for himself and his five top minions — a mere $113 million payout for them in a year he chopped everyone else’s pay by 5 percent plus profit-sharing,” House said on his blog. “These were raises for some of the five people by as much as 400 percent — a tidy uptick.”
Hurd was brought in to help cut costs and change the direction of the company following Carly Fiorina’s tenure as HP CEO, and in terms of financial results, he was a success. During his time as CEO, he made HP into the world’s biggest IT supplier.
One of Hurd’s primary plans was to cut costs, which meant cutting jobs and outsourcing many positions. While in the midst of thousands of global job and pay cuts, it was announced that Hurd received a multimillion dollar bonus payment, which did not go over well with employees. Now that Hurd is gone, it isn’t surprising to hear that many HP staff disliked him. What is surprising is the scope.
“Blogs over the weekend by current employees said ‘Hooray, the tyrant is gone!'” House wrote. “I couldn’t contain my glee on the 11 p.m. news — best news for HP in a very long time!”
According to the UK newspaper The First Post, which cites an employee survey website, Glassdoor, Hurd had the lowest approval rate of any major tech boss.
According to House, an internal HP survey called “The Voice of the Workplace” — a poll given to employees once every five years for the last 35 years, and last issued in April of this year — showed that more than two-thirds of all HP employees would quit immediately if they had an equivalent job. Not a better job, or a higher paying one, just an equivalent job. That is the highest recorded instance of job dissatisfaction at HP in the 35 years that the survey has been run.
House conjectures that the sexual harassment suit was just a convenient excuse to oust an extremely disliked boss. We may never know the whole truth, but it is an interesting counterpoint to the original story.