In a scathing letter to the New York Times, Oracle Corp. (ORCL) Chief Executive Officer Larry Ellison said Hewlett-Packard Co.’s (HPQ) board was wrong to force the resignation of CEO Mark Hurd.
“The HP board just made the worst personnel decision since the idiots on the Apple (AAPL) board fired Steve Jobs many years ago.” Ellison said in the letter.
Hurd stepped down as HP CEO Friday after an internal investigation found he falsified documents to conceal a relationship with former HP contractor Jodie Fisher, who did marketing work for the company, and help her get paid for work she didn’t do.
But investigators said Hurd was not guilty of sexual harassment, as alleged by Fisher, who settled her claim out of court. HP learned about the relationship several weeks ago, when Fisher sent a letter accusing Hurd, 53, and the company of sexual harassment.
“The HP board admits that it fully investigated the sexual harassment claims against Mark and found them to be utterly false,” Ellison said in the letter. According to Ellison, the board was split 6-to-4 over whether to go public with the sexual-harassment claim. “In losing Mark Hurd, the HP board failed to act in the best interest of HP’s employees, shareholders, customers and partners,” wrote Ellison.
Ellison called Hurd a close friend and said he was deeply offended by what just happened to him.