When the steely Midwesterner signed on to run Hewlett-Packard in 2005, the company was in the dumps. The board had fired his predecessor, the high-profile Carly Fiorina; morale was low; and the numbers were not looking good.
All that has changed. HP is back at the top of its game. In its most recent results, net earnings rose 28% on revenue growth of 15% - and the company is so bullish that it ordered an $8 billion buyback. The Silicon Valley stalwart has overtaken Dell as the leader in the personal computer market and is turning out innovative products, such as the video-conferencing system Halo. Oh, and its stock price has tripled under Hurd, who emerged pretty much unscathed by the boardroom pretexting scandal in 2006.