Talk about piling on.

Days after Oracle (ORCL) CEO Larry Ellison urged the entire board of Hewlett-Packard to "resign en masse right away," former General Electric (GE) CEO Jack Welch has jumped on the diss-HP's (HPQ) board bandwagon.

Speaking Tuesday at the World Business Forum in New York, Welch, one of the most legendary CEOs in the history of corporate America, let loose with a fusillade of criticism aimed at the tech giant's board.

"The Hewlett-Packard board has committed sins over the last 10 years," Welch said in comments cited by 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."

The criticism comes in the wake of HP's hiring of Leo Apotheker, a former chief of German software giant SAP (SAP), to replace Mark Hurd, who was forced out as CEO in a sexually-tinged expenses scandal. But the board's mistakes go back farther than that, according to Welch.

Leadership development, Welch said, "was very low on the priority of leadership at that company."

"This crowd [at H-P] doesn't seem to do any of that," Welch said. "They end up blowing up the CEO's and don't have anyone else in mind to come in. Where the hell was the leadership development? Who are these board members?"

Interviewer Alan Murray of The Journal asked Welch if he knew any of the board members. His response?

"I wouldn't admit it if I did."


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Sonny, Nice Business 101 response. Think you'll find that the majority share holders get what they want and in this case its not a group of outside investors but a bunch of folks tight to the company. No management experience, just personal goals that may or may not be consistent with good corporate management. It seems that they never understood C.F.'s logic or management style and as soon as they thought M.H. might get into trouble they bailed on him. CF wasn't squeezing enough $$$ out for the shareholders so MH came in and raided the company to pay dividends. Wait and see where it goes.

October 05 2010 at 7:38 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply