Steve Jobs' Efforts to Support Ousted HP CEO Mark Hurd and Protect HP's Legacy
As part of an extensive look at HP and whether CEO Meg Whitman will be able to turn the legendary computer company around, Bloomberg Businessweek shares an anecdote revealing how Steve Jobs reached out to ousted HP CEO Mark Hurd in 2010 both to provide support and to offer assistance with repairing Hurd's relationship with HP in an unsuccessful effort to prevent the company from entering a tailspin.
Hurd's ouster at HP has been compared to Steve Jobs' departure from Apple in 1985, although Hurd was forced out over claims of sexual harassment and improper expense reports.
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 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 argued that a strong HP was vital to a healthy Silicon Valley, and Jobs was worried that the company would falter following the departure of Hurd. Jobs was unsuccessful in his efforts, however, and although he would only live for another year, he did witness the fall of HP under outsider Léo Apotheker.
Jobs had quietly served as a mentor to a number of other tech industry figures, such as Google founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page and Salesforce founder Marc Benioff. Jobs also served as mentor to Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, offering advice on a broad array of topics.