11 Things to Know About ... Hewlett-Packard Company

Every now and again, something truly shocking happens in the IT industry. Last month, it was the departure of the ostensibly staid Mark Hurd from Hewlett-Packard Co. amidst a somewhat mysterious scandal. Legacies of Hurd's tenure at HP:

  1. Revenues. Between fiscal year 2006 and fiscal year 2009, HP revenues grew from nearly $92 billion to nearly $115 billion; and the last year (ending Oct. 31, 2009) came in the worst business climate in the history of the tech industry.
  2. Partner Happiness. Hurd had a very good reputation among partners. It's going to be hard to keep partners feeling as good about the firm.
  3. Employee Unhappiness. Reaction to the scandal reinforced the impression that Hurd was deeply unpopular among the rank-and-file. Not surprising, given layoffs and austerity measures of the last few years.
  4. Board Reputation. The situation creates another question about HP's Board of Directors. From Carly Fiorina's selection and tumultuous career to the pretexting scandal to Hurd's ouster, HP has trouble at the top. Is it bad luck or something else?
  5. Ellison Zinger. We can thank the Hurd departure for yet another great Larry Ellison bombshell. See his quote elsewhere on this page.
  6. R&D. There are concerns about whether HP's research and development budget has been large enough under Hurd. Will the company be in position to innovate?
  7. Major acquisitions. Hurd steered the company through several large acquisitions, though nothing on the scale of the 2002 Compaq deal. Big buys included Palm, 3Com, EDS, Opsware and Mercury Interactive.
  8. Stock price. It doubled during Hurd's tenure, but dropped about 10 percent when he was ousted.
  9. Carly Fiorina. The flameout of her successor has done nothing to rehabilitate Carly's reputation.
  10. Golden Parachute. Add Hurd's departure to the list of senior executives getting a massive reward for an ignominious exit. Estimates are that Hurd walks away with around $28 million.
  11. Lasting fame for Jodie Fisher. While she didn't become a household name through her erotic film career or her stint in reality TV, she's now guaranteed lasting name recognition at least in IT circles as a new archetype for a corporate role. As in, "Oh, is she so-and-so's Jodie Fisher?"

About the Author

Scott Bekker is editor in chief of Redmond Channel Partner magazine.