Mark Hurd, who was Chief Executive of Hewlett-Packard during a period rocked by scandal and heralded by success, and most recently co-CEO of Oracle, died on Friday at the age of 62.
While the cause of his death was not disclosed, Hurd took a medical leave of absence from Oracle in September. His health reasons at the time were left unspecified.
Hurd said in an announcement in September, “Though we all worked hard together to close the first quarter, I’ve decided that I need to spend time focused on my health. I love Oracle and wish you all success during my absence.”
Oracle’s Chairman Larry Ellison released a statement to employees informing them of Hurd’s passing. He wrote in part:
“Oracle has lost a brilliant and beloved leader who personally touched the lives of so many of us during his decade at Oracle. All of us will miss Mark’s keen mind and rare ability to analyze, simplify, and solve problems quickly. Some of us will miss his friendship and mentorship. I will miss his kindness and sense of humor.”
Hurd along with Safra Catz was appointed as co-CEOs of Oracle in September 2014. Since their appointment, Oracle’s stock has increased by approximately 37%.
From 2005 to 2010, Hurd was the CEO of Hewlett-Packard. While he became accustomed to much success there, his five years were not absent of scandal. Hurd succeeded at turning around the operations of HP as well as implementing strategies for cutting costs. His attention to detail about the company served him well as HP’s stock prices consistently improved.
In 2006, attempts to determine who leaked information to the media led to a full scandal with board members leaving the company, investigations from federal agencies, and Hurd being asked to testify before a congressional hearing.
In 2010, Hurd announced his resignation from HP during a sexual harassment claim that was filed against him. Share prices took an 8% tumble and over time board members at HP began to lose trust in his judgment.
Then CEO of Oracle, Larry Ellison came to Hurd’s defense, stating that Hewlett-Packard had made a terrible personnel decision in letting Hurd go. In less than a month, Hurd had been hired by Ellison as president of Oracle.
Hurd was associated with Oracle’s shift to offering versions of its software online. He also helped set Oracle on a path toward integrated software and hardware systems for enterprise organizations.
Hurd is survived by his wife, Paula, and their two daughters, Kathryn and Kelly.
The full email from Ellison to Oracle’s employees can be read below:
“It is with a profound sense of sadness and loss that I tell everyone here at Oracle that Mark Hurd passed away early this morning. Mark was my close and irreplaceable friend, and trusted colleague. Oracle has lost a brilliant and beloved leader who personally touched the lives of so many of us during his decade at Oracle. All of us will miss Mark’s keen mind and rare ability to analyze, simplify, and solve problems quickly. Some of us will miss his friendship and mentorship. I will miss his kindness and sense of humor. Mark leaves his beloved wife Paula, two wonderful daughters who were the joy of his life, and his much larger extended family here at Oracle who came to love him. I know that many of us are inconsolable right now, but we are left with memories and a sense of gratitude…that we had the opportunity to get to know Mark, the opportunity to work with him…and become his friend.”