September 21, 2010 12:23 am

HP and Oracle end Hurd dispute

HP and Oracle have resolved their differences in the dispute over the right of Mark Hurd to take up a post as co-president at Oracle.

HP had sued its former chief executive shortly after he joined its long-time partner and latter-day rival this month. It also sought an injunction in a California court preventing Mr Hurd taking up his new role.

In a joint statement on Monday, HP and Oracle said they were reaffirming their long-term strategic partnership, with 140,000 shared customers, and announcing the resolution of litigation regarding Mr Hurd.

They said the terms of the settlement were confidential, but Mr Hurd would adhere to his obligations to protect HP’s confidential information while fulfilling his responsibilities at Oracle.

In its court filing, HP had alleged Mr Hurd would “be in a situation in which he cannot perform his duties for Oracle without necessarily using and disclosing HP’s trade secrets”.

It is understood that Mr Hurd’s severance deal did not have a non-compete clause, but the lawsuit said he had signed agreements with HP preventing him disclosing trade secrets.

In a regulatory filing on Monday, HP said it was modifying the terms of Mr Hurd’s separation agreement as part of the legal resolution. It said he had agreed to waive his rights to remaining compensation due to him, namely 330,000 units of performance-based restricted stock and 16,000 time-based units.

Cathie Lesjak, interim chief executive, said in the joint statement: “We look forward to collaborating with Oracle in the future,”

Larry Ellison, Oracle chief executive said: “Oracle and HP will continue to build and expand a partnership that has already lasted for over 25 years”.

Mr Ellison had been sharply critical of HP when it allowed Mr Hurd to leave in August, calling it “the worst personnel decision since the idiots on the Apple board fired Steve Jobs many years ago”.

Mr Hurd resigned over code of conduct breaches at HP. Its board said it had found no violation of its sexual harassment policy regarding his relationship with a female consultant, but determined that expense reports filed by or for him were inappropriate.

In spite of their warm words on a long partnership, Oracle and HP have increasingly been in competition as they have moved into each other’s core areas of business and made acquisitions.

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