Another CEO Bites the Dust, Albeit With $40 MIL: Thoughts on Former HP CEO Mark Hurd


  1.  Has every male in America forgotten “Fatal Attraction”?
  2. There’s a fine line between romance and sexual harassment – a line that becomes noticeably brighter once one party in the romance loses interest, drops out, or quits awarding contracts.
  3. Expense reports are tricky things.  Before signing, read.  Actually, follow the academic studies and read The Ten Commandments before filling them out.  The studies show you will submit far less for reimbursement. Submit far less for reimbursement and you can never be sacked for expense account discrepancies.
  4. What a country!  To be fired and walk away with $40 million!
  5. Everything that ends up being a debacle started with something small.  A marketing consultant for the company who is invited to dinner with the CEO and others is neither unusual nor improper.  Yet, things can go south from there as dinners continue at a rapid clip for no good reason. How many dinners?  Why the dinners? Who else was at the dinners?  Was anybody else at the dinners?  It’s not the first step that is the problem; it is the turn of the road that should give us pause.
  6. CEOs should not have time to run companies, have families, be married, and still date (others – those to whom they are not married).
  7. If you must date, do so on your own dime.
  8. There are bloggers actually finding fault with HP’s board.  We don’t have enough to put all the pieces together, but the board does.  Something was terribly wrong here.  Conduct need not rise to the level of illegality for a board to conclude that bad judgment is bad judgment and bad judgment is not good in a company’s leader.  Since when is a board seeking to avoid bad publicity for a company being wimpy? Turmoil around a CEO wreaks havoc on stock prices as well.
  9. No one is irreplaceable.  HP will be fine.  There is depth in the ranks and there has been succession planning.

10.  I suspect the board looks terrific to employees who were aware of the Hurd issues.  Trust the Barometer on this one – there are many who were aware and knew and know far more than we.

11.  Lawyer Gloria Allred calling is akin to having a “Sixty Minutes” camera crew at your door.  It is going to be a bad day. Just ask Tiger Woods.  

12.  One spokesperson for HP said the questionable expense reports for Mr. Hurd “totaled no more than $20,000.”  To some of us, that amount remains a great deal of money.

About mmjdiary

Professor Marianne Jennings is an emeritus professor of legal and ethical studies from the W.P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University, retiring in 2011 after 35 years of teaching undergraduate and graduate courses in ethics and the legal environment of business. During her tenure at ASU, she served as director of the Joan and David Lincoln Center for Applied Ethics from 1995-1999. In 2006, she was appointed faculty director for the W.P. Carey Executive MBA Program. She has done consulting work for businesses and professional groups including AICPA, Boeing, Dial Corporation, Edward Jones, Mattel, Motorola, CFA Institute, Southern California Edison, the Institute of Internal Auditors, AIMR, DuPont, AES, Blue Cross Blue Shield, Motorola, Hy-Vee Foods, IBM, Bell Helicopter, Amgen, Raytheon, and VIAD. The sixth edition of her textbook, Case Studies in Business Ethics, was published in February 2011. The ninth edition of her textbook, Business: lts Legal, Ethical and Global Environment was published in January 2011. The 23rd edition of her book, Business Law: Principles and Cases, will be published in January 2013. The tenth edition of her book, Real Estate Law, will also be published in January 2013. Her book, A Business Tale: A Story of Ethics, Choices, Success, and a Very Large Rabbit, a fable about business ethics, was chosen by Library Journal in 2004 as its business book of the year. A Business Tale was also a finalist for two other literary awards for 2004. In 2000 her book on corporate governance was published by the New York Times MBA Pocket Series. Her book on long-term success, Building a Business Through Good Times and Bad: Lessons from Fifteen Companies, Each With a Century of Dividends, was published in October 2002 and has been used by Booz, Allen, Hamilton for its work on business longevity. Her latest book, The Seven Signs of Ethical Collapse was published by St. Martin’s Press in July 2006 and has been a finalist for two book awards. Her weekly columns are syndicated around the country, and her work has appeared in the Wall Street Journal, the Chicago Tribune, the New York Times, Washington Post, and the Reader's Digest. A collection of her essays, Nobody Fixes Real Carrot Sticks Anymore, first published in 1994 is still being published. She has been a commentator on business issues on All Things Considered for National Public Radio. She has served on four boards of directors, including Arizona Public Service (1987-2000), Zealous Capital Corporation, and the Center for Children with Chronic Illness and Disability at the University of Minnesota. She was appointed to the board of advisors for the Institute of Nuclear Power Operators in 2004 and served on the board of trustees for Think Arizona, a public policy think tank. She has appeared on CNBC, CBS This Morning, the Today Show, and CBS Evening News. In 2010 she was named one of the Top 100 Thought Leaders in Business Ethics by Trust Across America. Her books have been translated into four different languages. She received the British Emerald award for authoring one of their top 50 articles in management publications, chosen from over 15,000 articles. Personal: Married since 1976 to Terry H. Jennings, Maricopa County Attorney’s Office Deputy County Attorney; five children: Sarah, Sam, and John, and the late Claire and Hannah Jennings.
This entry was posted in News and Events. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.