HP has been in a lot of trouble lately, with its revenues dwindling as growth in the printer and PC industry slows down. In 2010, HP’s board forced the then CEO Mark Hurd to resign amidst allegations of sexual harassment. Sadly it was also Hurd who helped HP stock rise 130% during his tenure.
Steve Jobs tried to lend a hand to Hurd, even offering to speak to the board on his behalf, in hopes of keeping a solid leader at HP’s helm.
Bloomberg has the details:
Three days after he’d resigned as CEO under pressure from the company’s board of directors, Hurd received an e-mail from Steve Jobs. The Apple (AAPL) founder wanted to know if Hurd needed someone to talk to.
Hurd met Jobs at his home in Palo Alto, according to people who know both men but did not wish to be identified, compromising a personal confidence. The pair spent more than two hours together, Jobs taking Hurd on his customary walk around the tree-lined neighborhood. At numerous points during their conversation, Jobs pleaded with Hurd to do whatever it took to set things right with the board so that Hurd could return. Jobs even offered to write a letter to HP’s directors and to call them up one by one.
Jobs believed that a healthy HP was essential to a healthy Silicon Valley. After all, HP was one of the founding companies of Silicon Valley, which Jobs and Steve Wozniak looked up to while building Apple. (When he was 12, Jobs called up HP founder Bill Hewett, wanting to borrow some parts to build a frequency counter. Hewett gave him the required parts a few days later, and Jobs later got a summer job at HP.)
Oracle founder and CEO Larry Ellison—a friend of both Hurd and Jobs—called Hurd’s firing “the worst personnel decision since the idiots on the Apple board fired Steve Jobs many years ago.” He lost no time in hiring Hurd as Oracle’s co-president.
Steve Jobs, known to be one of the pioneers of the Silicon Valley, helped a lot of tech industry folks in building their companies. Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, Google founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin, Salesforce founder Mark Benioff all have been guided by Jobs at some point of time.