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Oracle CEO Mark Hurd, known for his 'visionary' business approach, dies at 62

Atherton resident was an innovator who led notable tech companies

Silicon Valley tech executive Mark Hurd, who served as CEO for Redwood City-based Oracle and Palo Alto-based Hewlett-Packard, has died at the age of 62, according to a statement from co-founder Larry Ellison posted on Hurd's website.

A business visionary who turned around the fortunes of the corporations he helmed, Hurd, an Atherton resident, died of an unspecified illness on Friday, Ellison said.

"Mark was my close and irreplaceable friend, and trusted colleague. Oracle has lost a brilliant and beloved leader who personally touched the lives of so many of us during his decade at Oracle," Ellison said.

"All of us will miss Mark's keen mind and rare ability to analyze, simplify and solve problems quickly. Some of us will miss his friendship and mentorship. I will miss his kindness and sense of humor."

Hurd was born on Jan. 1, 1957, in New York City. He grew up on Manhattan's Upper East Side and attended The Browning School, an all-boys college preparatory school. The family moved to Miami, Florida, where he attended Archbishop Curley-Notre Dame High School, according to his company biography.

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In high school, he was a top-10 ranked tennis player in Florida. His athleticism earned him a tennis scholarship to Baylor University in Waco, Texas, where he studied business and marketing. Already showing leadership skills, he was also fraternity president of Phi Delta Theta. He graduated with a Bachelor of Business Administration in marketing management in 1979.

Hurd began his business career in 1980 as a junior salesman at the National Cash Register Corporation in San Antonio, Texas, which made ATMs and cash registers. In 1988, he moved to Dayton, Ohio on a temporary assignment and quickly rose through the ranks. He became the company president in 2001 and was promoted to CEO in 2003, according to his biography.

Hewlett-Packard took notice of his leadership skills and recruited him in 2005 as its CEO. At HP, Hurd saw the company's revenue rose 63% and its stock price doubled. HP became the top desktop- and laptop-computer seller under his tenure and increased its market share in 2008 in inkjet and laser printers to 46% and 50.5%, respectively, according to Fortune Magazine. He was also known for aggressive cost-cutting, laying off 15,200 workers, or 10%, shortly after his arrival. Hurd slashed other areas of the workforce and reduced the company's number of software applications, according to Fortune.

Fortune named him one of its "Most Powerful People in Business" in 2007 and the San Francisco Chronicle recognized Hurd as "CEO of the Year" in 2008. In addition, Hurd was listed as one of Forbes' "Top Gun CEOs" in 2009.

But Hurd's tenure at HP was also marred by scandal after claims of sexual harassment by a female contractor. An internal investigation concluded that Hurd didn't violate HP's sexual harassment policy, but the company found that he submitted inaccurate expense reports, according to news reports, including from Reuters and the Wall Street Journal. He resigned from HP on Aug. 6, 2010.

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Hurd was not unemployed for long, however. Oracle Corporation's then-CEO Larry Ellison tapped him one month later as co-president, sharing the position with Safra Catz. Ellison also appointed him to the board of directors, according to Hurd's biography. As president, Hurd reshaped the company's sales force to create more than 4,000 salesperson-specialists, who focused on a single product, according to his company biography.

After a dinner with his daughter and her friends, who had recently graduated from college, he tapped youth enthusiasm by implementing a new program for recent graduates to create a startup feel at Oracle. The "Class Of" program hired college graduates into a dedicated sales program.

In 2014, Hurd and Catz shared the role of CEO after Ellison became chief technology officer. Hurd headed sales, marketing and services; Catz ran finance, operations and legal. The arrangement proved successful for the corporation: Oracle's stock rose to a high of $51 in 2017, according to his biography.

Hurd was visionary on cloud computing, which he predicted would be the future of data storage. Under his leadership, Oracle's cloud-storage products became a dominant force in the industry, competing against industry giants such as Amazon and Microsoft and attracting clients such as AT&T, Bank of America, and Australian airline Qantas. He also engaged in acquisitions, purchasing NetSuite, the "very first cloud company," for approximately $9.3 billion. He oversaw other purchases that strengthened the company's position in providing cloud computing, according to his biography.

He also co-authored a book in 2004, "The Value Factor: How Global Leaders Use Information for Growth and Competitive Advantage," with former National Cash Register Corporation CEO Lars Nyberg to share their views on the impact of information access for businesses.

Last month, Hurd announced he would go on leave for unspecified health reasons. He is survived by his wife of 29 years, Paula, and two daughters, Kathryn and Kelly, according to his online biography.

He remained a lifelong donor to his alma mater, Baylor University, including becoming vice chairman of its Board of Regents. He and his wife supported the national championship tennis program at Baylor, and they gave a financial gift to launch the public phase of a $1.1 billion philanthropic campaign for the university's future growth.

University leaders mourned him on Friday.

"On behalf of the Baylor Board of Regents, we are deeply saddened by the passing of Oracle CEO and our Board's Vice Chair Mark Hurd," board chairman Jerry K. Clements said in a statement posted on the university's website.

"For the past five years Mark Hurd served tirelessly and selflessly on his alma mater's board. He genuinely loved and cared for Baylor and contributed his time, strategic leadership and treasure to help achieve Baylor's vision for the future as the preeminent Christian research university. Our board will miss greatly his presence, wisdom and leadership. To the Hurd family, our thoughts, prayers and support are with you at this difficult time."

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Oracle CEO Mark Hurd, known for his 'visionary' business approach, dies at 62

Atherton resident was an innovator who led notable tech companies

by / Palo Alto Weekly

Uploaded: Fri, Oct 18, 2019, 5:49 pm

Silicon Valley tech executive Mark Hurd, who served as CEO for Redwood City-based Oracle and Palo Alto-based Hewlett-Packard, has died at the age of 62, according to a statement from co-founder Larry Ellison posted on Hurd's website.

A business visionary who turned around the fortunes of the corporations he helmed, Hurd, an Atherton resident, died of an unspecified illness on Friday, Ellison said.

"Mark was my close and irreplaceable friend, and trusted colleague. Oracle has lost a brilliant and beloved leader who personally touched the lives of so many of us during his decade at Oracle," Ellison said.

"All of us will miss Mark's keen mind and rare ability to analyze, simplify and solve problems quickly. Some of us will miss his friendship and mentorship. I will miss his kindness and sense of humor."

Hurd was born on Jan. 1, 1957, in New York City. He grew up on Manhattan's Upper East Side and attended The Browning School, an all-boys college preparatory school. The family moved to Miami, Florida, where he attended Archbishop Curley-Notre Dame High School, according to his company biography.

In high school, he was a top-10 ranked tennis player in Florida. His athleticism earned him a tennis scholarship to Baylor University in Waco, Texas, where he studied business and marketing. Already showing leadership skills, he was also fraternity president of Phi Delta Theta. He graduated with a Bachelor of Business Administration in marketing management in 1979.

Hurd began his business career in 1980 as a junior salesman at the National Cash Register Corporation in San Antonio, Texas, which made ATMs and cash registers. In 1988, he moved to Dayton, Ohio on a temporary assignment and quickly rose through the ranks. He became the company president in 2001 and was promoted to CEO in 2003, according to his biography.

Hewlett-Packard took notice of his leadership skills and recruited him in 2005 as its CEO. At HP, Hurd saw the company's revenue rose 63% and its stock price doubled. HP became the top desktop- and laptop-computer seller under his tenure and increased its market share in 2008 in inkjet and laser printers to 46% and 50.5%, respectively, according to Fortune Magazine. He was also known for aggressive cost-cutting, laying off 15,200 workers, or 10%, shortly after his arrival. Hurd slashed other areas of the workforce and reduced the company's number of software applications, according to Fortune.

Fortune named him one of its "Most Powerful People in Business" in 2007 and the San Francisco Chronicle recognized Hurd as "CEO of the Year" in 2008. In addition, Hurd was listed as one of Forbes' "Top Gun CEOs" in 2009.

But Hurd's tenure at HP was also marred by scandal after claims of sexual harassment by a female contractor. An internal investigation concluded that Hurd didn't violate HP's sexual harassment policy, but the company found that he submitted inaccurate expense reports, according to news reports, including from Reuters and the Wall Street Journal. He resigned from HP on Aug. 6, 2010.

Hurd was not unemployed for long, however. Oracle Corporation's then-CEO Larry Ellison tapped him one month later as co-president, sharing the position with Safra Catz. Ellison also appointed him to the board of directors, according to Hurd's biography. As president, Hurd reshaped the company's sales force to create more than 4,000 salesperson-specialists, who focused on a single product, according to his company biography.

After a dinner with his daughter and her friends, who had recently graduated from college, he tapped youth enthusiasm by implementing a new program for recent graduates to create a startup feel at Oracle. The "Class Of" program hired college graduates into a dedicated sales program.

In 2014, Hurd and Catz shared the role of CEO after Ellison became chief technology officer. Hurd headed sales, marketing and services; Catz ran finance, operations and legal. The arrangement proved successful for the corporation: Oracle's stock rose to a high of $51 in 2017, according to his biography.

Hurd was visionary on cloud computing, which he predicted would be the future of data storage. Under his leadership, Oracle's cloud-storage products became a dominant force in the industry, competing against industry giants such as Amazon and Microsoft and attracting clients such as AT&T, Bank of America, and Australian airline Qantas. He also engaged in acquisitions, purchasing NetSuite, the "very first cloud company," for approximately $9.3 billion. He oversaw other purchases that strengthened the company's position in providing cloud computing, according to his biography.

He also co-authored a book in 2004, "The Value Factor: How Global Leaders Use Information for Growth and Competitive Advantage," with former National Cash Register Corporation CEO Lars Nyberg to share their views on the impact of information access for businesses.

Last month, Hurd announced he would go on leave for unspecified health reasons. He is survived by his wife of 29 years, Paula, and two daughters, Kathryn and Kelly, according to his online biography.

He remained a lifelong donor to his alma mater, Baylor University, including becoming vice chairman of its Board of Regents. He and his wife supported the national championship tennis program at Baylor, and they gave a financial gift to launch the public phase of a $1.1 billion philanthropic campaign for the university's future growth.

University leaders mourned him on Friday.

"On behalf of the Baylor Board of Regents, we are deeply saddened by the passing of Oracle CEO and our Board's Vice Chair Mark Hurd," board chairman Jerry K. Clements said in a statement posted on the university's website.

"For the past five years Mark Hurd served tirelessly and selflessly on his alma mater's board. He genuinely loved and cared for Baylor and contributed his time, strategic leadership and treasure to help achieve Baylor's vision for the future as the preeminent Christian research university. Our board will miss greatly his presence, wisdom and leadership. To the Hurd family, our thoughts, prayers and support are with you at this difficult time."

Comments

Monica
East Palo Alto
on Oct 18, 2019 at 11:44 pm
Monica , East Palo Alto
on Oct 18, 2019 at 11:44 pm
8 people like this

No matter how much money old boy made. I hope he knew God.


Anon
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 19, 2019 at 10:43 am
Anon, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 19, 2019 at 10:43 am
10 people like this

>> He was also known for aggressive cost-cutting, laying off 15,200 workers, or 10%, shortly after his arrival. Hurd slashed other areas of the workforce and reduced the company's number of software applications, according to Fortune

"De mortuis nil nisi bonum."

For all I know, Mark Hurd was a great guy. Unfortunately, you brought up a non-achievement that Hurd shared with all the other HP CEOs in the last 20 years. CEOs are supposed to increase shareholder value, among other things. Look at HP shareholder value over the last 20 years. A long line of HP "business administration"-type CEOs were in charge, Mark Hurd among them. It is clear that "professional managers" know how to pump up share prices in the short term through while destroying long-term value. Silly me-- I'm not supposed to care about the long-term, only the next quarter. Sorry, I'm a slow learner.


Reflections
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 19, 2019 at 11:33 am
Reflections, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 19, 2019 at 11:33 am
20 people like this

In this day and age, 62 is too young. Condolences to his wife and daughters for their loss.
*******************************

It's a reminder that for all the wealth in the world, Steve Jobs could not buy his 57th birthday, and Mark Hurd could not buy his 63rd.

I'm sorry to say this here, but there's no other time and place where it would make an impact: This is a reminder to think about the whole we reap-what-we-sow social equation. The wealthiest think they can get the best care when they get sick, and they do. But...

... when they need the care, they can't buy the innovation that years of problem-solving to provide the best outcomes for everyone before them with those conditions (regardless of income) would have created. It's a reason for the wealthiest to remember that they stand, too, to benefit more from the kinds of social investments the rest of the first world makes (but we don't anymore, like affordable education and universal affordable healthcare) than they do from the decimation of public investments their top tax cuts have resulted in since the '80s.

I'm sure everyone in the family would give up all the excess luxury of those cuts for another 30 years with their father. He sounds like he was generous in his own way, but none of it takes the place of paying back the public for the investments that enabled the wealth.

Such as: the stability from the military, the legal system the wealthy use disproportionately, the roads, airports, ports, education system and educations of their workers, public health system, government agencies like NIOSH and NOAH that protect us in ways most people don't even realize, etc etc etc No one can pay for those up front before they go into business, there's a reason people don't go to Sudan to start their businesses. But the wealthiest should pay back to the public when they succeed, so the public can continue to invest. Ever since the '80s, it's become popular for the wealthiest to denigrate and decimate public investment, and try to destroy any power of the People that would otherwise be a check on the excesses of wealth, and our nation has suffered for it.

The wealthiest usually fail to see how they suffer for it, too. Now is one of those times that should serve as a reminder. Innovation comes from trying to solve problems, by people most motivated to solve them. By the time the wealthiest become those people, it's really too late for them. There is a benefit to the wealthiest to, as the Bible says, treating others as we would want to be treated, and caring for the least among us as if they are God in the flesh.

Rest in Peace


Anon
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 19, 2019 at 3:54 pm
Anon, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 19, 2019 at 3:54 pm
2 people like this

Posted by Anon, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood

Sorry, editing error:

>> "professional managers" know how to pump up share prices in the short term through

[through] stock buybacks,

Web Link


CeeCee
another community
on Oct 20, 2019 at 4:04 am
CeeCee, another community
on Oct 20, 2019 at 4:04 am
13 people like this

Wow! This obit rewrites tech history.

"Hurd was visionary on cloud computing, which he predicted would be the future of data storage. Under his leadership, Oracle's cloud-storage products became a dominant force in the industry, competing against industry giants such as Amazon and Microsoft...."

Anybody who knows anything about cloud computing knows that Oracle arrived extremely late to the game, and that Ellison is on public record as bashing cloud. Oracle never was and never will be a "dominant force in the [cloud] industry."

The other posters who pointed out Oracle's propensity for stock buy-backs are exactly right. Oracle is all about pumping up stock price in the short term.


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