Oracle Founder and Chairman Larry Ellison confirmed Hurd’s death Friday.
“Mark was my close and irreplaceable friend, and trusted colleague,” Ellison said in a memo to Oracle employees that was posted on Mark Hurd’s personal website. “Oracle has lost a brilliant and beloved leader who personally touched the lives of so many of us during his decade at Oracle. All of us will miss Mark’s keen mind and rare ability to analyze, simplify and solve problems quickly.”
Hurd took a leave of absence from Oracle (ORCL) a month ago for an unspecified medical reason. He had been a chief executive and board director at the company since 2010. He served alongside Safra Catz, who also has the title of CEO. Ellison took over Hurd’s responsibilities when he left.
Hurd’s Oracle career started one month after he resigned as Hewlett-Packard’s CEO over sexual harassment allegations. HP (HPQ) said in a regulatory filing at the time that an outside investigation of the claims “determined that there was no violation of HP’s sexual harassment policy, but did find violations of HP’s Standards of Business Conduct.” Hurd conceded in the HP press release that “there were instances in which I did not live up to the standards and principles of trust, respect and integrity that I have espoused at HP.”
Oracle is one of HP’s chief rivals, and the companies have a long history of litigation and nastiness. Hurd’s appointment ruffled some feathers in Silicon Valley. But Oracle needed an experienced salesman as Amazon (AMZN), Microsoft (MSFT) and Google (GOOGL) began to grow their cloud computing businesses. That left Oracle’s middleware and database products looking particularly outdated.
Since Hurd’s arrival, the company has greatly expanded its cloud computing portfolio, although Oracle still trails its competitors by a wide margin.
Hurd began his career in 1980 at ATM company NCR as a junior salesman. He eventually worked his way up to become CEO in 2003. He became HP’s CEO in 2005, replacing ousted CEO Carly Fiorina.
Correction: An earlier version of this story misstated Hurd’s age.