Sunday, August 8, 2010


[Full Disclosure: I own HPQ stock. The following blog post, however, is not written from a shareholder perspective. These opinions, as the others in my blog, are solely my own]

I mean WOW! In my blogging past, I have heaped praise on two CEO's:
  1. Ramalinga Raju and
  2. Mark Hurd
Ramalinga Raju is currently in Hyderabad's Chanchalguda jail and Mark Hurd has been unceremoniously dismissed as the CEO of HP. I wonder what drives these (and other) talented individuals to such grave deeds of misconduct (I provide an POV later in this posting)

Sexual misconduct/ethical lapses and Corporate world are certainly not strangers. Recently, IBM's Robert Moffat resigned on an insider-trading charge after "becoming intimate" with tipster Danielle Chiesi. I agree with Chris O'Brien that the circumstances of Hurd's dismissal are mysterious - especially with the comment that Hurd would keep $20,000 in his shoe :) However, I disagree with Chris in wondering if Hurd had to go. Curiously, it was the same Hurd that spoke not too long ago of the ethical challenges that he faces in running a large, global company :) If there is one thing I admired about the leadership at Sun it was the high moral ground maintained by its executives (Sun won the award for the World's Most Ethical Company). They may have been recognized as the worst leaders in American History (for the record, I do not share that opinion), but they did their jobs ethically :)

Given the increased scrutiny in a post Enron world, you wonder what were Hurd, Moffat, et al thinking? We are not talking about minor reckless driving incidents before they became the CEO of large corporations. We are also not talking about improprieties by sports figures. After all, the only one affected in this case is their family (not that it condones the despicable and dastardly behavior!).

There is a certain responsibility that comes with running the world's largest computer company - to the 300,000+ employees and shareholders. Words used by Tiger Woods in his apology come to mind, "I convinced myself that normal rules didn't apply. I never thought about who I was hurting. Instead, I thought only about myself. I thought I could get away with whatever I wanted to". History is replete with examples of moral hypocrisy from absolute power.

Lord Acton's dictum of "absolute power corrupting absolutely" has been proven time and time again ...

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