September 27, 2006

mark hurd interview with peter burrows

Peter Burrows of Business Week was one of the reporters investigated by the HP Board. He has every right to be vindictive, but he has risen above the personal affront in a straightforward and balanced interview with HP CEO Mark Hurd. Burrows asks some pointed questions ("You have said that the reason Keyworth was ousted from the board was that he violated HP standards of business conduct. Did you violate those standards as well?"), but he also gives Hurd a fair chance to say what he is doing to prevent such lapses in the future. I was interviewed by Burrows earlier this year at HP and was impressed with him; this piece reinforces my initial positive impression.

For his part, Hurd comes across pretty well. He accepts responsibility, refuses to jump to easy conclusions, and gives a straight story about the damage that has been done. He is every bit as plain-spoken and direct as we have seen him inside HP over the last 18 months. And I am especially interested in his comment on the opportunity to turn this situation into a force for change:

"I just think we need to put fresh eyes on it, and look at it as a zero-based budget kind of thing. Let's look at this from the ground up, and not try to tweak what we have. Let's try to be a leader here. It sounds absolutely nuts, based on the circumstances we're in. But sometimes when you're in a situation like this, it creates an openness to change. And I can't think of anyone more open to change than us."

As I wrote a couple of weeks ago at the beginning of all this, "...sometimes it takes a crisis to precipitate a catharsis -- and maybe our current board crisis can be turned into a vehicle for purposeful renewal of the HP culture and our presence in the world. It would be hard and painful thing to do, and it would take incredible leadership from Mark Hurd and his team and from every person in HP, but I could see it, I really could." Is it possible that Mark Hurd wants to build the HP Way 2.0?

It's a good interview, go read the whole thing.

Posted by Gene at September 27, 2006 9:57 AM | TrackBack