Oracle co-president Charles Phillips—the subject of an ex-mistress's embarrassing billboard campaign—has left the computing giant. But Oracle will maintain its "scandalous co-presidents" quota: It's hired former HP CEO Mark Hurd, who was just fired—thanks to a Playboy model.
Ah, how sweet it is when two separate sex scandals cross paths, like ships, in the night, or whatever! And so it is with Oracle's big personnel news, which sees the departure of co-president Charles Phillips and the arrival of former Hewlett-Packard CEO Mark Hurd. What, you don't remember their sex scandals? Allow us to refresh your memory!
If you spent any time in New York, San Francisco, or Atlanta in early 2010, you might already remember Charles Phillips. The Oracle co-president appeared, along with a woman named YaVaughnie Wilkins, on a series of billboards in those cities. "'You are my soulmate forever' - cep," the campaign redundantly declared, along with a website address directing people to a photo album of the apparently happy couple.
As it turned out, YaVaughnie Wilkins was a former mistress of the married Phillips, and the billboards were apparently her screw-you "gift." Phillips quickly lost his wife, and his position on the Morgan Stanley board—though he remained at Oracle.
But not for long, as it turned out. As The New York Times reported on Monday, the company announced that Phillips was stepping down. His replacement in the "crowded management suite"? None other than Mark Hurd, the Hewlett-Packard CEO who had his own share of scandal-driven attention last month (and who Ellison has loudly defended, as the two are apparently tennis buddies).
And Hurd, of course! The CEO was apparently in a close relationship with an employee—marketer/event organizer Jodie Fisher, who at some point filed a sexual harassment complaint against Hurd claiming that he pressured her to have sex with him. Though the complaint was found to be without merit, the board apparently found irregularities in his expense accounts and forced him out. The best part of the scandal, from our gossip-mongering point of view, was the discovery that Fisher had been a softcore porn actress—not to mention a Playboy model, as Gawker quickly discovered.
Sexy allegations or not, Oracle's decision to hire the former Hewlett-Packard CEO is a shot at Hurd's former company, which is quickly turning into one of Oracle's rivals—not to mention that, as the Wall Street Journal points out, HP is likely to sue Hurd over the confidentiality clause in his sizable severance package.
Hurd's hiring would also indicate that Oracle CEO Larry Ellison—a guy who desperately wants to be thought of as (and to some extent is) a fabulously wealthy jet-setting playboy type—wasn't concerned with Phillips' starring role in the extramarital advertising campaign. It's likely that public missteps like Phillips' claim that Oracle would "spend $70 billion in acquisitions over the next five years" (which the company quickly quashed) played a bigger role in his departure—though both Ellison (pictured, in 2008, standing in front of Hurd's face on a screen) and Phillips have indicated that Phillips has been looking to leave since at least 2009.
Meanwhile, Safra Catz, Oracle's other co-president, may want to consider embroiling herself in a sex scandal. Just to fit in!
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