HP & Oracle Settle, Hurd Forfeits $13.6 Million

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HP and Oracle announced a settlement in the lawsuit HP launched against Oracle for hiring former HP CEO Mark Hurd. Terms of the settlement are confidential at this point, but AllThingsD noted that regulatory filings showed that Mr. Hurd returned stock options to HP that are worth some $13.6 million.

In the settlement announcement, the two companies made it clear that they will continue working together. Cathie Lesjak, CFO and temporary CEO for HP said in a statement, “HP and Oracle have been important partners for more than 20 years and are committed to working together to provide exceptional products and service to our customers. We look forward to collaborating with Oracle in the future.”

The lawsuit began after Oracle CEO Larry Ellison hired Mr. Hurd after HP fired him in the wake of a sexual harassment investigation. That investigation found that Mr. Hurd had not violated company policy, but that he had shown a lapse of judgement.

Mr. Ellison publicly commented on the firing, calling it, “the worst personnel decision since the idiots on the Apple board fired Steve Jobs many years ago.” He then hired Mr. Hurd.

Mr. Ellison also reportedly approached Netscape cofounder (and inventor of the original Mosaic Web browser) Marc Andreessen to help broker the settlement.

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Bosco (Brad Hutchings)

Hilarious. HP would have gotten exactly that if it had won the suit, because in California, non-competes are only enforceable on the compensation side. Now, HP gets that, plus the added stigma of Hurd, the former CEO, basically saying that his options (no purchase price mentioned, so value is actually less than $13.6 million) are worth less that what Oracle is giving him anyway. Black eye for HP.

Bryan Chaffin

Agreed, Brad. Mr. Hurd is making a both a big gamble and a big statement with this action.

Bosco (Brad Hutchings)

Yeah, but what was HP thinking with the lawsuit to begin with? You just revoke the options and let Hurd sue them or accept it as consequence. To this day, it still amazes me what standard practice is in California tech companies large and small regarding non-competes. This intimidation might work on a mid-level engineer who won’t shell out $200 to have an employment contract reviewed, but with a CEO? Unreal.

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