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Mark Hurd: $6 Billion Man

Lee Majors cannot be happy about this. Just a generation (or two?) ago, the tastefully named gentleman was the Six Million Dollar Man -- better, stronger, faster, etc. And nearly worthless compared to a guy who basically got bounced from his last job.

Mark Hurd didn't sustain severe injuries in a test-flight crash and come back as a bionic man (as Majors's Steve Austin character did in the '70s, in case you didn't know), but he did suffer a pretty hard fall after leaving the CEO post at HP under a cloud of bizarre circumstances and sexual-harassment accusations.

He must have hit rubber at the bottom, though, because he sure did bounce back quickly. Hurd is back in a top post with another top company now. Oracle, in a Labor Day announcement, said that it has hired Hurd as co-president, at the expense of Charles Phillips, who went overboard off the Good Ship Ellison.

Yes, Hurd will report to Cap'n Larry himself, and he'll have a friend with him on the quarterdeck --the other co-president, Safra Catz. Given the nature of the allegations against Hurd at HP, we're not sure what kind of experience he has with bizarre three-ways -- but he's gotten himself into one now. Well, maybe.

For its part, HP isn't so sure that Hurd can legally board the Battleship Oracle, and it's putting its lawyers to work by suing the former HP CEO. Why is everybody fighting over this guy, who, just a month ago, was awash in a mild scandal?

Well, for one thing, he's a well-respected technology executive largely credited with turning around HP after the unfortunate reign of Carly Fiorina. And then there's this from the Wall Street Journal:

"Oracle investors appear a bit overexcited about the hiring of Mark Hurd as their company's new co-president, adding about $6 billion to the company's market capitalization in early Tuesday trading."

And this, in the very next paragraph of the WSJ story:

"HP stock similarly added about $6 billion to its market capitalization on the day in 2005 that Mr. Hurd was hired."

Good grief! This guy is the $6 billion man! No wonder Oracle wants him and HP doesn't want him to go to a company that's increasingly becoming a rival. This dude is -- quite literally -- money. Is he worth it? Well, that's for Admiral Ellison to find out. He probably was worth it at HP, though, and he might just be the CEO-in-waiting at Oracle. So, sorry, Lee Majors. Hurd has gone from being the fall guy to being the $6 billion man (again). That's inflation, we suppose.

Is Mark Hurd worth $6 billion? How will he get along at Oracle? Send your thoughts to lpender@rcpmag.com.

Posted by Lee Pender on 09/07/2010 at 1:23 PM


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