By now, you’ve read the unfolding story of former H-P CEO Mark Hurd asked to resign a week ago due to some “I-did-not-have- sex-with-that-woman” snafu. What you likely haven’t heard about Hurd is the truth. The H-P board of directors is already bored with the entire scandal, and instead of releasing the truth behind the untruth, everyone is left to guess why the lack of transparency.
Is Hurd’s hiring of the PR firm Paris Hilton uses a smart thing? Or, is it squarely an admission of guilt? If anyone needed to hire a PR firm, it’s former-presidential-hopeful -now-fallen-star John Edwards or Governor of South Carolina Mark Sanford.
That’s an interesting move by Hurd to hire my peers in Los Angeles. Stories in the Wall Street Journal suggest he did it to pave the way for future employment and to set the unbalanced record straight.
My first impression was that Hurd is hiding something and that his decision to hire PR is an admission of guilt beyond a faulty expense account and a “close personal relationship” with Jodie Fisher, actress turned hostess. Let’s use Tiger Woods as an example.
Tiger’s crisis unfolded via a front-man gatekeeper who was a criminal attorney. No PR team in place to help craft the message in the immediate aftermath of Tiger’s early morning crash turned sex scandal extraordinaire. If Tiger had hired a public relations team to help with his horrendous image, perhaps he’d be farther along on the pathway to repair than where he’s floundering now.
Back to Mark Hurd. At the time of this writing, the man is apparently not that guilty; yet, he hires a public relations firm to be the frontline spokespeople on his behalf. EXTREMELY SMART.
I love that Hurd turned immediately to PR as his frontline support and crisis team. I expect Hurd’s lawyer is also on that team, but the Wall Street Journal prominently featured a Sitrick spokesperson in its story and not a lawyer.
The “Smart Money” column in the Wall Street Journal by James B. Stewart on August 11, 2010 is a can’t-miss read. I appreciate Stewart’s candor and blunt talk about transparency at H-P, “Hewlett-Packard Still Can’t Handle the Truth” on August 11, 2010. Nothing for H-P to be happy about, Stewart suggests investors avoid H-P stock. The $35 million exit package paid to the fired Hurd, the lack of transparency by H-P, and ridiculous way this situation is being handled have all created a nose dive for H-P stock. This week, $8.7 billion was shaved off H-P’s market value. (Seriously?)
I hope H-P is taking lessons from its former CEO. It should have a full-court press in investor relations, public relations, crisis communications along with social media strategies front and center to reverse its embarrassing downward spiral.
What’s your impression of yet another sex scandal plaguing corporate America and government?