Kaminsky's Call: Hiring Mark Hurd May Bring an Upswing for Oracle
Well, that didn't take long. The buzz of Labor Day weekend centered around Oracle's courtship of Mark Hurd.
Just one month to the day of his ouster from Hewlett-Packard, Hurd joined the software titan as Co-President and will report to Larry Ellison. Many are forecasting an Ellison-to-Hurd succession.
It is clear that the damage of Hurd's disgrace was merely two minutes in the penalty box, or in Hurd's game of choice's terms, a foot-fault on his tennis serve.
Bottom line, if I were a holder of Hewlett-Packard shares, I would not be happy. After watching the stock decline dramatically over the month, I would not appreciate the irony of my deposed CEO's ability to take vengeance as a rival.
Loyal followers of the K-Call will remember my warnings about owning shares when the CEO is larger in stature than the company itself. Now, Oracleshareholders have to be concerned about the same dynamic, but my "Call-to-Action" is clear: watch Oracle carefully in the coming months for potential upswings after this hire.
Hurd is 53, in his prime, and likely more energized than ever to show his worth. He has experience running a software operation in Teradata ,whichis now a rival of ORCL when he was CEO of NCR .
That Ellison defended him immediately following the early August scandal says a great deal about their relationship. This support strengthens Hurd's motivation to prove the Hewlett-Packard board wrong for letting him go - indiscretion or not.
Don't think that Hurd doesn't still have loyalists in stockholders who would love to profit from this new venture. Many Hewlett-Packard owners were thrilled by his hard-hitting measures to cut costs and boost performance the past five years. Perhaps, many of them will drop their HPQ shares (if they haven't already, and judging by the current stock price, many Hurd loyalists have) and buy ORCL. Those who already own Oracle may add to their position with this hiring score.
This reminds me of the Mickey Drexler episode. Another superstar CEO who was ousted by his board at Gap, Drexler came back swinging at J.Crew. I would imagine a poll of J.Crew holders would reveal a number of Gap stockholder refugees. Drexler, adulated by so many in the world of retail, attracts his own demographic on his stature alone within JCG circles. We could see the same transpire for Hurd at Oracle.
How quickly things can change in Silicon Valley. Of course, many will be watching for bigger clues that Hurd is the man to succeed Ellison, but in the meantime, watch for traders who chase big names in personnel. Hurd is no longer someone with just a strong track record (at least in business terms). The man Ellison hired is on a mission.
The summer scandal could possibly transform into another success story for Hurd and his following. Either way, think about how much has happened in just one month. It will be fascinating to see how this one unfolds.
Programming note: "The Strategy Session," hosted by David Faber and Gary Kaminsky, airs weekdays at Noon ET on CNBC.
Gary Kaminsky does not hold any equity positions.
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