Wednesday, September 8, 2010

HP and Mark Hurd

If you follow the news at all there has been yet another CEO banished from HP. Talk about a tough board! HP’s job of hiring their next CEO just got a whole lot harder. Who wants to be the third in line behind Carly Fiorina and Mark Hurd? Not what you call a lot of upside on the good old resume or a wise career move. The best and the brightest may look elsewhere in the future so HP have you just limited yourself to a mediocre replacement at best?

But let’s face some facts here. HP you can't have your cake and eat it too! It's that simple. According to California law people have the right to work. Period. If a company dismisses you they run the risk of you going to the competition.

HP's legal filing was simply sour grapes. I wouldn't want to be the head of HP's legal team once HP ends up with legal "egg" on their face over this one. In business a corporation's reputation can depend a lot on how well they support their people. Does the company support their employees and treat them with respect or do they discard them quicker than a used ticket at the turnstile of a local carnival ride?

Merry-go-round anyone?

Hopefully someone on HP's board has the wisdom to take a step back and objectively look at the three-ring circus they've created for themselves. This frivolous lawsuit serves only to spotlight their latest act.

Kudos here to Larry Ellison. As seasoned a ringmaster as they come, last week he stated that HP was wrong in dismissing Hurd. Imagine that! A corporate leader who doesn't pull any punches! Not only that but Ellison then has the audacity to put his money where his mouth is and offers Hurd a job! That's no three-ring circus! That's a class act where I come from. If this were a boxing match Ellison's one-two combination would have HP down on the canvas.

But this is corporate America and rather than fight it out in the marketplace HP is intent on trying to win the next round in the courtroom.

Good luck HP! You'll need it. But realize this. Every potential HP job applicant will be second-guessing themselves before they come to work for you. Will I be arbitrarily dismissed if I go work for them? And if I do decide to work for HP will I too be sued some day? If given the choice will Joe Q Public buy a printer from a company that's quick to pull the trigger on firing their employees or from a company that treats their employees with respect? A better question. Why run that risk?

It's called public relations. So HP in addition to the legal team who advised you (or capitulated to your board's desire) to go after Mark Hurd you might want to be checking with your Public Relations department to ensure that this is the corporate image you want to be projecting in the marketplace right now. Listen to your PR folks. Ensure that HP continues to stand for Hewlett Packard rather than High Profile.

As for your vacant CEO position HP? I hear Charles Phillips recently became available.

James Gingerich

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