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Steve Jobs tried to protect HP's legacy during Mark Hurd sex scandal

Steve Jobs tried to protect HP's legacy during Mark Hurd sex scandal


The two CEOs met privately after Hurd's resignation

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In 2010, Mark Hurd resigned as CEO of HP after a sexual harassment scandal and pressure from the board of directors — but according to an HP profile by Bloomberg Businessweek, Apple CEO Steve Jobs tried to fight his decision to protect HP's legacy. Three days after Hurd's resignation, he "received an e-mail from Steve Jobs. The Apple founder wanted to know if Hurd needed someone to talk to." In a subsequent conversation, Jobs offered to call up HP's board of directors one by one to convince them to let Hurd return, urging him to reconcile.

We've heard previously that Hurd was one of the biggest champions of Palm and webOS, which was positioned as a possible major competitor to Apple's then overwhelmingly dominant iOS. His ouster, however, was similar to Jobs' own 1985 demotion from head of the Macintosh group, which led to his departure from Apple. Even so, his support wasn't primarily for personal reasons. Jobs apparently argued that HP was "essential to a healthy Silicon Valley," and Hurd would be best equipped to save the struggling company. Indeed, HP's performance dropped off sharply after Hurd's departure, for a variety of reasons. Hurd, meanwhile, moved to Oracle, where he remains today as president.