HP CEO Mark Hurd fired, HP brand in the bullseye

On Friday August , HP CEO Mark Hurd was ousted from the top of the monolithic electronics giant. While Wall Street may be treating HP with an optimistic outlook – the small shift is only a sign that HP has released a critical brand target that resonates through-out the corporate ecosystem.

“Investors are clearly nervous. Shares of HP plunged 7% on Monday despite the fact that the company also issued bullish guidance Friday after the bell. Of course, nobody cared because that’s when HP also announced the Hurd mess.”
~ Paul R. La Monica (CNN MONEY)

Mark Hurd has been upheld as a thought-leader and effective business man, but his reason for leaving the throne of HP revolves around indiscretion with a female HP contractor. While we won’t go into the details of that story: we can quickly see that as HP CEO, Mark Hurd has become the overnight talking point for many journalists.

Weekend News Coverage Included:

Wall Street Journal
Mark Hurd Proves Every CEO Is Replaceable

The Hurd Mentality: HP’s Mark Hurd and the Big Traps in Small Lapses

CNN Money
Hurd Mentality: Is HP no longer a buy?

Washington Post
HP CEO Mark Hurd allowed to resign: No Severance?

Network World
What do Mark Hurd and Tiger Woods have in common?

Mark Hurd, HP CEOWhile chief executive officers like Mark Hurd are in all industries, the details of his leaving with a $28 million cash and stock severance highlights that people can (and will) get rewarded for improper conduct within the executive suite. This is most easily seen by looking at his separation package:

“The board may claim that they were obligated to pay Hurd due to his employment contract, and could not fire him for cause because it was written so narrowly. But employees burned by years of cost-cutting are unlikely to care. HP workers have faced multiple rounds of layoffs in recent years. Their 401(k) contributions have been capped and made discretionary. On top of all that, Hurd exacted 2.5% to 15% salary cuts from all of HP’s employees during the recession, a bold and controversial move in management circles that a few companies have only recently dared to do.” ~ Jena McGregor (The Washington Post)

As the HP CEO, Mark Hurd was a core element that details how executives at large companies are highlighted with unusual rules. One of the most identifying aspects in the digital space is that “Mark Hurd” was a frequent search on Google, Yahoo, and Bing.

In the month of July, the Wikipedia entry for Mark Hurd was viewed 2695 times. That same Wikipedia article generated roughly 50k readers in 2009.

For purposes of rationalizing the ROI of executive reputation and knowing how a CEO name is driving tremendous exposure at the individual level: think about the extremely high percentage of investors, employees, business partners, vendors, and industry journalists who took SEARCH RESULTS about Mark Hurd and made critical business decisions.

Mark Hurd will be an interesting person to watch in the CEO reputation space, as he fumbled the ball and HP and its stockholders are left holding the bill.