HP can’t get a break lately, with Friday’s news that CEO Mark Hurd had been asked to resign amid allegations of sexual harassment not only prompting a significant ditch in their share price but scorn from at least one high-profile name in the industry. Oracle CEO Larry Ellison spared no feelings in his comments to the NYT, describing the HP board as having made “the worst personnel decision since the idiots on the Apple board fired Steve Jobs many years ago.” Meanwhile, HP has lost another significant name from the Palm team, with Peter Skillman – VP of design at Palm, and responsible for the Pre’s design – leaving the company.
“The H.P. board just made the worst personnel decision since the idiots on the Apple board fired Steve Jobs many years ago. That decision nearly destroyed Apple and would have if Steve hadn’t come back and saved them. In losing Mark Hurd, the H.P. board failed to act in the best interest of H.P.’s employees, shareholders, customers and partners. The H.P. board admits that it fully investigated the sexual harassment claims against Mark and found them to be utterly false.” Larry Ellison
It’s worth noting that Ellison and Hurd are friends, but the Oracle CEO also raises questions about a vote the HP board supposedly took over whether or not to disclose the sexual harassment claim. Meanwhile other insiders have confirmed that this was indeed the main point of tension between Hurd and the HP board, and that the relationship soured significantly when the decision to go public was made. HP maintains that their primary complaint was Hurd’s falsification of expense reports, done to disguise the extra-marital relationship.
As for Skillman, it’s unclear what he’ll be doing next, but eleven years at Palm probably don’t look too bad on the CV. The news of his departure fits in with rumors earlier in the year regarding several executives’ plans to abandon Palm in the aftermath of the HP acquisition.