Larry’s Instincts

6 Sep

By signing up ousted Hewlett-Packard CEO Mark Hurd today to be his president, Larry Ellison once again burnishes his idiosyncratic reputation among Silicon Valley bigwigs. Hurd, one of the least liked executives in the Valley, who left his former post under a cloud, must be grateful to Oracle’s leader for the job. I’m sure the salary and perks are first rate, and Hurd doesn’t even need to move, since his new company’s headquarters is just up Highway 101 from HP. But the benefits to Larry and Oracle remain murky at the moment.

Hurd replaces Charles Pierce a seven-year Oracle veteran. At this writing, Oracle’s newsroom web page has no explanation of why Pierce is leaving. It probably has little to do with the company’s financial performance, which has been better than decent during the Great Recession. Chalk it up to Larry’s whim. Or instinct.

For those who think Larry Ellison is as bullying and monopolistic as Bill Gates but in a better suit, he deserves the title of the book by a former employee, The Difference Between God and Larry Ellison: *God Doesn’t Think He’s Larry Ellison. And some undoubtedly question whether Larry deserved to be the highest paid executive in the world for the first decade of the 21st century.

Even I found it telling that Scott McNealy ruled out staying on after Oracle bought Sun Microsystems. Although considered brash, maybe even harsh, Scott was never unnecessarily self-centered and cruel and might not have survived at the new company.

Hurd’s another story. He reminds me of Ray Lane, a former #2 at Oracle who lasted almost eight years working side-by-side with Larry. Lane was credited with much of Oracle’s success during his tenure and it was his increasing prominence that may have led Larry to usher him out.

Hurd was becoming full of himself at HP, which undoubtedly led to his missteps and firing. But he’s probably better suited out of the limelight and working for a larger-than-life character like Larry. Like Lane, as Larry instinctively knows, Hurd will excel as a #2. It’s when the man is given free reign that his weaknesses appear.

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One Response to “Larry’s Instincts”

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  1. World Wide News Flash - September 7, 2010

    Larry's Instincts « Croisan Views…

    I found your entry interesting do I’ve added a Trackback to it on my weblog :)…

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