HP Drops Lawsuit Against Hurd After Mere 13 Days
Former HP CEO gives up about $30 million in severance from HP to work for Oracle as co-president.SAN FRANCISCO-Well, that didn't take long. In an era in which legal cases are often drawn out far longer than they should be, Hewlett-Packard and Oracle spent only 13 days in a legal tussle over the move of former HP CEO Mark Hurd to Oracle to serve as its co-president.
On Sept. 20, HP dropped a civil lawsuit it had brought Sept. 7 against Hurd accusing him of violating a noncompetition agreement in his HP contract by joining Oracle a mere 30 days after accepting a $40 million severance package.
That's not trivial. Based on the Sept. 20 HP stock price, Hurd is giving up about $30 million in severance. Hurd won't be hurting for income, however. Earlier, Oracle said Hurd would be paid $950,000 in annual salary and will be eligible for as much as $10 million in performance-related bonuses during the next year. Back to business as usual Oracle and HP have made it no secret at Oracle OpenWorld that they are going to continue to do plenty of business together, despite the brief legal action. Hurd was forced to resign as HP's CEO Aug. 6 following a sexual harassment allegation by a former HP employee and that led to reports that he falsified financial records to cover up a relationship with that employee. Hurd, a longtime friend of Oracle CEO and co-founder Larry Ellison, was hired Sept. 6 at Oracle. At the time HP filed the suit, Ellison described the legal case "vindictive" and chided HP's board of directors for forcing Hurd out, saying it was "the worst personnel decision since the idiots on the Apple board fired Steve Jobs." A number of industry analysts also expressed doubt about the wisdom of letting go a chief executive who brought the company back from wandering in the wilderness a mere five years after it was stumbling following several huge bad decisions-not the least of which was buying Compaq. "The civil suit ... is kind of funny, because it's almost like a necessary step in the corporate tango," Mark Peters of Enterprise Strategy Group told eWEEK at the time. "I don't think the civil suit is about a particular technology or market secrets; it's more about [the fact that] they don't want this smart manager going somewhere else."