When Mark Hurd resigned unexpectedly from Hewlett-Packard last month he found an outspoken supporter in the form of Oracle CEO Larry Ellison. It appears now that Hurd may end up working for Ellison, according to a report Saturday in the Wall Street Journal.
Hurd is in talks with Oracle to take a top executive position at the company, the Journal reported, citing unnamed sources. It wasn’t clear what job he might take but it would not be that of the CEO, since Ellison does not plan to leave that position, the report said. Such a move could make sense for Oracle, which acquired Sun Microsystems earlier this year and has battled to return its hardware division to a profit. Hurd was known for making HP leaner and more efficient and its profits increased sharply under his watch.
The Journal cautioned that the talks with Hurd could fall through and that it’s possible no agreement will be reached. Oracle could not be reached for comment on Sunday and a spokesman for Hurd said he declined to comment.
Hurd resigned suddenly from HP on Aug. 6 following a complaint of sexual harassment by an outside contractor. An investigation found no violation of its harassment policy but faulted Hurd for failing to disclose a relationship with the contractor and for falsified expense reports.
Soon after the resignation, Ellison blasted HP’s board for what he called “cowardly corporate political correctness.” In an e-mail to the New York Times, he said HP had made “the worst personnel decision since the idiots on the Apple board fired Steve Jobs many years ago.”
The reports about Hurd and Oracle follow speculation last week that one of Oracle’s co-presidents, Charles Phillips, could be close to leaving the company. Financial analyst firm Wedge Partners learned that Phillips was no longer running Oracle’s global product groups and said it was a sign his tenure there could be coming to an end.
Oracle confirmed the change in Phillip’s duties but said there was no truth to the report that he may be leaving the company.