About Mark Hurd
Mark Hurd was a leader in the technology industry for nearly 40 years. Most recently, he served as Oracle Corporation’s chief executive officer (CEO) and a member of their board of directors. He was a lifelong player and supporter of tennis, and helped create new opportunities for up-and-coming players to advance their careers in the sport. Mark Hurd is survived by his wife Paula, and their two daughters, Kathryn and Kelly.
Mark Hurd was born in 1957 in New York City, growing up on the Upper East Side. As a child, he attended the all-boys Browning School until moving to Miami for high school.
Mark Hurd’s early life was dominated by sports. He started playing tennis the day he got to Archbishop Curley Notre Dame High School and became a top-10-ranked player in Florida. (In an interview with Business Insider, he noted the Florida rankings were actually more competitive than those in New York.) His talent was noticed, and Mark Hurd was recruited to attend Baylor University on a tennis scholarship, where he graduated with a Bachelor of Business Administration degree in marketing management in 1979.
With a full academic and athletic schedule, and as president of Phi Delta Theta fraternity, Mark Hurd learned the value of time and organization. He continued to support the fraternity throughout his life, by meeting with his chapter in Waco, Texas, to discuss his experiences and strategies for Phi Delta Theta. In 2010, the fraternity honored Mark Hurd with the Nance-Millett Free Enterprise Award, which recognizes individuals who have made an outstanding contribution to the free enterprise system.
In 2014, Mark Hurd joined Baylor’s Board of Regents. He was named Vice Chair of the Board of Regents for the 2016-2017 term and was re-elected for two additional terms. In 2019, Baylor added Mark Hurd to their Athletics Wall of Honor, an honor reserved for graduates whose notable achievements have had a positive impact on the university.
Mark Hurd married his wife Paula in 1990 and had two daughters.
In 1980, Mark Hurd started his business career in San Antonio as a junior salesman at the National Cash Register Corporation (NCR). He rose through the ranks of the company quickly, earning a reputation for driving transformational change and executing on tough decisions. In 2001, Mark Hurd became NCR’s president, and was subsequently promoted to the role of CEO in 2003.
His work at NCR attracted attention from Silicon Valley. And when Hewlett-Packard went looking for a new CEO in 2005, Mark Hurd was named chief executive.
In 2007, Mark Hurd was named one of Fortune’s 25 Most Powerful People in Business. In 2008, the San Francisco Chronicle recognized Mark Hurd as CEO of the Year, and in 2009, he was listed as one of Forbes’ Top Gun CEOs.
Mark Hurd became Oracle’s president on September 6, 2010, sharing the position with Safra Catz. Appointed by Oracle executive chairman and chief technology officer (CTO) Larry Ellison (CEO at the time), Mark Hurd also joined Oracle’s board of directors.
Mark Hurd’s first order of business was radically reshaping the company’s sales force. Beginning in 2013, he implemented a “specialist” model. Instead of selling a range of Oracle products, each salesperson would become an expert in a single category. That year Mark Hurd hired over 4,000 salespeople under this new model, restructuring territory assignments, compensation, and quotas to help drive growth.
Another innovation sprang from a dinner with his daughter and her friends, all of whom had recently graduated from college. Drawing from the energy of enthusiastic young people ready to change the world, Mark Hurd envisioned a new program built for recent graduates that could inject a startup feel into Oracle. The result was the creation of “Class Of,” Oracle’s initiative for hiring college graduates into a dedicated sales program, preparing them to become Oracle’s future leaders. Oracle now recruits thousands of students every year through its “Class Of” program.
In 2014, Larry Ellison became the CTO of Oracle, promoting Mark Hurd and Safra Catz as CEOs. Mark Hurd took over leadership of sales, marketing, and services, while Safra Catz helmed finance, operations, and legal. Though rare among Silicon Valley companies, the partnership proved fruitful, with Oracle’s stock hitting a high of $60 in July of 2019.
In 2015, Mark Hurd saw an increasing trend of companies migrating to the cloud, a vision that has been borne out in today’s market. He pushed investments in Oracle Cloud R&D, building data centers to take on competitors such as Amazon and Microsoft. Mark Hurd spread the word about the connected cloud experience through his much-anticipated keynote presentations at Oracle OpenWorld. He also spoke at other Oracle conferences, TEDx events, colleges, leadership events, and even a Sports Illustrated podcast.
Acquisitions were another pathway toward Oracle’s success in the cloud. In the summer of 2016, Oracle announced the purchase of NetSuite, known as the “very first cloud company,” for approximately $9.3 billion. Mark Hurd saw the merger as another opportunity for growth, stating, “We intend to invest heavily in both products—engineering and distribution.” Other acquisitions such as Bronto, LogFire, and Wercker also brought new offerings to Oracle’s position in the cloud space.
In his pursuit of cloud success, Mark Hurd secured historic and significant deals with AT&T, Bank of America, and Qantas Airlines; helping bring their existing databases to the cloud with Oracle.
Mark Hurd’s support for the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) was instrumental in developing and expanding Oracle’s partnership with the ITA. The alliance led to the development of several ITA initiatives, including the Oracle/ITA Masters, the Oracle Collegiate Tennis Challenge, and the Oracle/ITA Arthur Ashe Jr./All-Star Outing.
Under his leadership, Oracle also created the Oracle US Tennis Awards. The $100,000 tennis grant is awarded to tennis players who have played collegiate tennis and demonstrated an aptitude for success and extraordinary sportsmanship during their pro tour.
Following his graduation from Baylor University, Mark Hurd continued to support his alma mater through contributions to the Baylor Bear Foundation, the primary fundraising organization for Baylor Athletics, and the Men’s Tennis Excellence Fund.
Mark Hurd was instrumental in Baylor’s tennis facility renovations. He helped fund the renovation of the outdoor tennis facility, which was later renamed the Hurd Tennis Center in honor of his family’s generosity to the tennis program. A premiere collegiate facility, the Hurd Tennis Center was rated the No. 1 College Tennis Facility in 2015 by Tennis Magazine and hosted the 2015 NCAA Championships.
Mark Hurd’s family also made a significant contribution to the Baylor Give Light initiative, which will help fund a new welcome center on campus. The new facility, to be named the Mark and Paula Hurd Welcome Center in their honor, will encompass a 50,000- to 60,000-square-foot area and serve as an “experience center” for students and families to learn more about Baylor and the Waco community “through a focused, high-tech, high-touch and high-value experience.”
Honors and Awards
Athletics Wall of Honor induction (2019)
Meritorious Achievement Award (Baylor Legacy Award) (2012-2013)
25 Most Influential Executives (2010)
25 Most Influential Executives (2009)
Top 25 Executives (2008)
Phi Delta Theta Fraternity, Nance-Millett Free Enterprise Award (2010)
American Football Coaches Foundation, CEO Coach of the Year Award (2009)
Forbes Top Gun CEOs (2009)
Barron’s Best CEOs list (2008)
San Francisco Chronicle CEO of the Year (2008)
Fortune’s 25 Most Powerful People in Business (2007)
Houston Baylor Business Network Baylor Business Legend Award (2006)
Business 2.0 50 People Who Matter (2006)
The Value Factor: How Global Leaders Use Information for Growth and Competitive Advantage
Co-authored by Mark Hurd and former NCR CEO Lars Nyberg in 2004, The Value Factor was a prescient look at the way companies could set themselves apart at the dawn of the information age. The book’s authors identify information as the new tool that provides companies with a competitive edge. Delivering insight about some of the top businesses across a variety of industries, the authors use their experiences as CEOs of major technology corporations to discuss the revolutionary impact of information access. Described as a “must read for busy executives” and “a clear lamp knifing through the fog of business,” The Value Factor can still help individuals looking to maximize their business’s potential.