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SPARK OF THE CORPORATE

Mark Hurd has been the CEO of not just one, but three multi-billion-dollar companies through his career. He is known for his photographic memory, razor-sharp execution capabilities and cost-management skills. An industry veteran, he has a wealth of technology industry leadership, computer hardware expertise and executive management experience. Started off as a young grad in NCR, owner of Teradata and a maker of automated teller machines, point-of-sale terminals and other technologies, he worked his way up to be the CEO in 23 years. He later moved to HP as it's CEO and currently heads the software giant Oracle. It is interesting to note that Mark Hurd, who has led several successful technology corporations, is not a programmer. Fresh out of college with his Bachelor’s degree in business administration, he commenced his career in sales and reached the top of the big name in the software business. It was the experiences at NCR that equipped him with the skill set and values to succeed throughout his career. The journey was neither short nor easy. Right from the start of his career, he worked hard every single day to become the best at the job he was given.

An enthusiastic speaker, he often shares his wisdom on topics that include business leadership, cloud computing, and the evolution of the workforce and participates in initiatives to better the industry.

 

25 years of NCR...

Having majored in marketing management, Hurd joined National Cash Register Corporation (NCR) in San Antonio in 1980 as an entry level salesperson who sold computer hardware, software, and electronics and spent two and a half decades in the company. In 1988, he moved from the Dallas field office to NCR’s corporate headquarters in Dayton, Ohio. Through a series of management, operations, sales and marketing roles with increasing management responsibility, he ascended through the company’s ranks. 

After 14 years of salesmanship and middle management positions, Hurd became the Vice President of Worldwide Marketing and Americas Professional Services Division in 1994. From 1998 to 2000, he served as the Senior Vice President of Teradata Solutions Group and took charge as the President of NCR in 2001 post  the takeover by AT&T and a subsequent spinoff. He earned his name as an executive and made his mark during this period. He led NCR's move away from low-margin businesses, such as PCs, servers and storage subsystems, and opted to focus on data warehousing

Subsequently, he was the Chief Operating Officer of NCR Corporation responsible for driving the performance of its businesses - Retail Store Automation, Financial Self Service, Payment and Imaging, Worldwide Customer Services, Systemedia and Teradata Data Warehousing for a year and then became the Chief Executive Officer in 2003. From a $220 million loss in 2002, NCR returned to profitability by 2003.

The stint with Hewlett-Packard...

HP came calling in 2005 and he spent five years as CEO of one of Silicon Valley’s oldest technology companies. A year later, he was promoted as Chairman of the Board as well. His leadership took HP to great heights in terms of operating efficiency, execution, financial performance and customer focus. The company's revenues and profits showed great growth under him for 22 straight quarters and met Wall Street expectations in 21 out of 22 quarters and cleaned up the financials. From $80 billion of revenue for the Oct. 31, 2004 fiscal year, he took it to $115 billion, or annualized growth of 7% over the five years by fiscal 2009. Strategies like dramatic cost-cutting, streamlining, refocusing around existing product lines, the standardisation of large-scale purchases like semiconductors, strict accountability for every penny in and out, concentration on its R&D investments on three long-term growth opportunities: next-generation enterprise data center architecture and services, technologies for always connected, always personal mobile experiences and a broad transition from analog to digital imaging and printing across the consumer, commercial and industrial markets favoured the growth. 

In 2010, he was asked to resign following a scandal accusing him of sexual harassment with an HP contractor. By then, HP became the number one in laptop and desktop computer sales for most of his tenure.

Oracle...

Hurd landed at the software giant Oracle as its co-President in 2010 handling all sales, service, and industry-specific business units. He was also the member of Board of Directors. He took over the company and completely changed the way it designed and sold software for the cloud. He revamped the company bringing in focus, dynamism and modernity strategically repositioning the brand. 

In 2014, he and CFO Safra Catz were named CEOs. Seeing an increasing trend of migration to the cloud, Oracle invested heavily in cloud computing. Oracle continues to move forward under this strategist and innovator who is fiercely committed to results, execution and closing deals.

Personal life...

Hurd holds a bachelors degree in Business Administration from Baylor University, in Waco, Texas. He had attended Baylor on a tennis scholarship and had tried his hand a couple of times after college at his dream job of being a professional tennis player. An early riser, he was ranked Top 10 in the state of Florida.

 

Hurd co-authored a book with former NCR chief Lars Nyberg on business leadership in the technology industry, The Value Factor: How Global Leaders Use Information for Growth and Competitive Advantage. He is married to Paula Hurd, a former senior executive at NCR and have two daughters. She had worked at NCR for 18 years and stepped down a year before her husband became the CEO. 

 

Two cents on leadership to be great leaders...

Get the strategy right.

Execute that strategy.

Put the right people in the right places.

Manage dual priorities that others see as conflicting.

Keep everyone focused on what matters.

 

Giving back...

Hurd works closely with his alma mater, Baylor University. In 2009, an outdoor tennis facility was named after him, the "Hurd Tennis Center" as a token of appreciation for his generous contribution for its renovation. The center was later rated No. 1 College Tennis Facility in 2015 by Tennis Magazine and hosted the 2015 NCAA Championships. He visits the campus as often as possible for home football games and heavily supports Baylor's national championship tennis program. He has also contributed to the Baylor Bear Foundation, the primary fundraising organization for Baylor Athletics, and the Men’s Tennis Excellence Fund.

 

Hurd has played a huge role in extending Oracle’s support for the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA). The Oracle – ITA partnership paved path for many ITA initiatives, including: The Oracle/ITA Masters, The Oracle Collegiate Tennis Challenge, and the Oracle/ITA Arthur Ashe Jr./All-Star Outing. His leadership also contributed to the creation of Oracle US Tennis Awards.

 

Associations and memberships...

Member of Board of Directors at Globality Inc

Previously a member of the Technology CEO Council and member of board of directors of News Corporation

Member of the Baylor University Board of Regents

Awards and accolades...

Honoured with the Baylor Legacy Award for 2012–2013 

Named by CRN among 25 Most Influential Executives in 2010 and 2009 and among Top 25 Executives in 2008

Received the American Football Coaches Foundation CEO Coach of the Year Award in 2009

Featured by Barron’s in their Best CEOs lists in 2008

Named as CEO of the Year in 2008 by the San Francisco Chronicle

Named among 25 Most Powerful People in Business in 2007 by Fortune 

Named among 50 Who Matter by Business 2.0 magazine in 2006

 

Quotes...

Focus on training direct supervisors, especially providing incentives that reward them to nurture all their employees, not just their stars. If employees have a good supervisor, they love their jobs. If they don't, they leave.

Anytime you have spends, your objective is make them as effective and efficient as you can.

With a full academic load and being a scholarship athlete, I didn’t have a lot of time. I had a lot of things I wanted to get done while I was there, and it caused me to learn to discipline myself.

We are living in an interconnected world, and because of the internet every customer can affect 100 other customers. We need to make sure that every customer has a good experience so that they can become ambassadors for our company.

The CEOs today need to perform, every quarter and every quarter after that. The CEO must think long-term and deliver in the short-term: there is no long-term without short-term performance. 

Being a CEO is like being a product: If you get out of the gates poorly, it's hard to recover. I'm only as popular as my company's last quarterly results.

Hope readers caught up the spark...

 

 

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