Oracle chief executive Larry Ellison has criticised Hewlett-Packard’s decision to oust its CEO Mark Hurd in the wake of a sexual harassment and expenses scandal.
In an email sent to the New York Times, Ellison claimed that board members at the world’s biggest IT vendor had failed to act in the “best interests of HP employees, shareholders, customers and partners”, comparing Hurd’s departure from HP to Steve Jobs’s firing from Apple in 1985.
“The HP board just made the worst personnel decision since the idiots on the Apple board fired Steve Jobs many years ago,” Ellison wrote. “That decision nearly destroyed Apple and would have if Steve hadn’t come back and saved them.”
Hurd resigned from HP last week following an internal investigation into allegations of sexual harassment against a female marketing contractor, later named as former adult actress Jodie Fisher. The investigation found no evidence of sexual harassment did discover a series of "questionable" expense payments made over a two-year period to Fisher.
“The HP board admits that it fully investigated the sexual harassment claims against Mark and found them to be utterly false,” Ellison added.
Database and business applications vendor Oracle and hardware maker HP have in the past enjoyed a close partnership, although Oracle’s acquisition of hardware firm Sun Microsystems earlier this year has brought the two IT giants into closer competition. Ellison and Hurd also have a close personal relationship, according to the New York Times, and the two are said to play tennis together in Silicon Valley frequently.
The newspaper also revealed that HP took the decision to eject Hurd on the advice of a PR company.