HP sues ex-boss Hurd over Oracle move

September 8th, 2010 - 4:32 am ICT by IANS  

San Francisco, Sep 8 (DPA) Hewlett Packard sued its former boss Mark Hurd Tuesday for breach of confidentiality agreements a day after the highly-regarded executive was hired as president of rival Oracle, The Wall Street Journal reported.
“Mark Hurd agreed to and signed agreements designed to protect HP’s trade secrets and confidential information,” a spokeswoman for HP said. “HP intends to enforce those agreements.”

The lawsuit was filed in the Santa Clara Superior Court in the heart of Silicon Valley, the report said. Hurd, 53, was appointed as president of Oracle Monday, just weeks after his embarrassing departure following a sexual harassment probe.

Hurd was forced to resign from HP after the company launched a probe into sexual harassment allegations from a marketing contractor who worked with him. Though the probe cleared Hurd of sexual harassment, it did find irregularities in his expense reporting.

After consulting with a public relations firm the HP board asked Hurd to step down. He reportedly received a severance package worth as much as $35 million, but also signed a confidentiality agreement that prevents him from revealing HP’s trade secrets.

The announcement of the appointment of the highly-regarded executive sent Oracle shares up by some 5 percent in trading Tuesday as investors predicted that Hurd would help Oracle muscle in on HP’s sales of computer servers.

Oracle CEO Larry Ellison had blasted HP’s ouster of Hurd in an open letter to the New York Times, likening the move to Apple’s removal of Steve Jobs 25 years ago. But he turned HP’s decision to his advantage by appointing him co-president of Oracle and a member of the board of directors.

“Mark did a brilliant job at HP and I expect he’ll do even better at Oracle,” Ellison said in a statement. “There is no executive in the IT world with more relevant experience than Mark. Oracle’s future is engineering complete and integrated hardware and software systems for the enterprise.”

Oracle was founded 33 years ago as a database company but its $7.4 billion purchase of Sun Microsystems last year threw it into direct competition with HP’s business of selling high end computer servers. Hurd said that his ambitions for Oracle went even further.

“I believe Oracle’s strategy of combining software with hardware will enable Oracle to beat IBM in both enterprise servers and storage,” said Hurd. “I’m excited to be a part of the most innovative technology team in the IT industry.”

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