Stung twice, first by their abrupt dismissal of star CEO Mark Hurd for what appeared to most people to be a personal failing (his involvement with an HP marketing contractor) and second by their hiring of a failed CEO to lead the country’s largest technology company, the board has now gone on the offensive against business reporter Joe Nocera of The New York Times.
As I noted here a few days ago, Nocera pointed out the hypocrisy of the board for dumping Hurd for relatively minor ethical issues while hiring Leo Apotheker, whom SAP fired after 8 months as their sole CEO (he held a co-CEO position for longer).
Apotheker it turns out was CEO of SAP while SAP was stealing software code from competitor Oracle.
Nocera wrote an earlier column calling the HP board “the most inept in America.”
Unable to make the business case for the hiring of Apotheker, Arrington says the HP directors are going after Nocera instead, first through a guy named Ben Horowitz. Horowitz was CEO of a company called Opsware (formerly LoudCloud) which was chaired and co-founded by Marc Andreesen. Horowitz and Andreesen arranged the sale of Opsware to HP in the summer of 2007 for $1.6 billion. Andreesen eventually got appointed to the HP Board. Horowitz quit HP after a year and he and Andreesen formed a venture capital fund.