Welch to HP Board: You Don’t Know Jack!
Well, look at that, Jack Welch just one-upped Larry Ellison in the HP-bashing game. The master manager unloaded on the company today during a series of interviews at the World Business Forum, slagging HP’s board for mishandling its CEOs and the company’s management succession plans.
“The Hewlett-Packard board has committed sins over the last 10 years,” the former GE CEO told The Wall Street Journal. “They have not done one of the primary jobs of a board, which is to prepare the next generation of leadership….They end up blowing up the CEOs and don’t have anyone else in mind to come in. Where the hell was the leadership development? Who are these board members?”
Interestingly, Welch (pictured above, measuring his respect for HP’s directors) seems particularly annoyed that HP passed over Todd Bradley, executive VP of the company’s Personal Systems Group and a former GE employee, for the top job. In a second interview with Bloomberg TV, he lambasted HP for hiring yet another outsider as CEO and wondered aloud why the company didn’t just hire Bradley.
“It tells you that they haven’t done the management development job,” he said. “Look, they hired Carly before Mark Hurd, so this is the second time that they’ve had to do that. You know Todd Bradley is out there and Todd Bradley worked for us at GE and Todd Bradley is a very good guy. Somehow or other he wasn’t picked. I don’t know any of the dynamics. So they chose to change the game again. This is their third outside CEO in eight years or something like that. It is obviously a board that isn’t thinking about management succession internally for a long time.”
Asked by the Journal if he knows any HP board members, Welch said, “I wouldn’t admit it if I did.”
Harsh words coming from the guy who was named “Manager of the Century” by Fortune magazine in 1999.