Friday, 5 November 2010

Clearer than CEOs


People can be much clearer than CEOs, spokespeople or PR specialists. Indeed…

Check the link in the pic for original source.

Caesar’s wife


Before becoming Consul of Rome, Julius Caesar was appointed Pontifex Maximus. He was appointed head of state religion. At that time, he was married to Pompeia, granddaughter of former dictator Cornelius Sulla. Thus, Pompeia was the head of state religion too, at least in matters related to women, in those years. Pompeia was Caesar’s second wife.

Some time after Caesar’s appointment to the job, Pompeia, as his wife, hosted the Festival of the “Bona Dea” (“the Good Goddess""), only for women attendance, to which men were forbidden to participate.

One of the start up politicians of the time, Publius Clodius Pulcher, disguised himself as a woman and entered the venue, apparently with the intention of seducing Mrs Caesar.

Bona Dea Festival artistic depiction

Not really producing any evidence of any wrongdoing, the episode was seized by Julius to demand divorce from Pompeia under the argumentation that “my wife ought not even to be under suspicion”. The real reason behind this break up and divorce were much more political, as politics of the time was mainly driven by family relationships worked out by marriages. Caesar was already deep into politics by that time. Historians strongly suggest he already had his next marriage (ie political alliance) in mind in his quest for power.

We have read the recent article in Fortune which analyses more in depth the story behind Mark Hurd ’s departure from HP a few months ago. Quite detailed and thorough.

Detailed enough to imagine a nice story.

In a given point in time, after having divorced its previous companion, the HP Board married Mark Hurd as the new CEO. In a certain point in time, Mark decided to have Festivals with other top executives from potential customers. Of course, those festivals were very exclusive, discreet, and reserved for the attendance of VIPs only.

A relatively unknown would-be starlet, Jodie Fisher, was hired by HP so as to greet guests to those festivals, and eventually supervise Mark’s agenda, ensuring he spent enough quality time with each person in the festival. Necessarily she herself spent a lot of time with Mark, with or without witnesses.

Not really producing any evidence of any violation of HP’s harassment policy, the episode was seized by the board to demand divorce from Mark… pity the HP PR spokespeople failed to make the historical parallelism. It would have been fun.

Still, though HP was not totally clear about the story, probably in the hope of letting it pass as fast as possible, smart journalists like those at Fortune open the door to details. A mere matter of trust, we may conclude after reading his article. The HP Board lost trust in Mark, even beofre anybody else did, even with no proof nor evidence at that time.

We agree that for any company, its CEO “ought not even to be under suspicion”. They in fact are an asset of the company they work for, aren’t they?

There is still, however, an interesting open question after the story. As the Festival’s episode was an excuse for Caesar to divorce Pompeia, a necessary step in his political career and quest for power, were there any quests for power behind the ousting of Hurd? We have no idea, but it would be interesting, in our opinion, to investigate a bit the likely candidates to marry the HP Boards at the time, and like enchanted frogs or toads, transform themselves into princesses or princes.