HP Settles Lawsuit Against Mark Hurd Over Oracle Hiring

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Well, that was fast. Hewlett-Packard (HPQ) has settled the lawsuit it filed against its former CEO Mark Hurd, who joined rival Oracle (ORCL) in early September after he was forced out of HP in a sexually-tinged expenses scandal.

HP had sued Hurd, claiming that he couldn't commence work at Oracle without exposing HP trade secrets and breaching a confidentiality agreement. Hurd appears to be giving up several hundred thousand stock option units in exchange for HP dropping the suit.

In an SEC filing Monday, HP said it had "resolved litigation commenced on September 7, 2010 against Mark V. Hurd, HP's former Chairman of the Board of Directors, Chief Executive Officer and President, for alleged breach of contract and threatened misappropriation of trade secrets in connection with Mr. Hurd's employment with Oracle Corporation."

"HP and Oracle have been important partners for more than twenty years and are committed to working together to provide exceptional products and service to our customers," HP CFO and interim CEO Cathie Lesjak said in a statement. "We look forward to collaborating with Oracle in the future."

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Oracle CEO Larry Ellison, who has been a vocal supporter of Hurd, issued a uncharacteristically muted statement: "Oracle and HP will continue to build and expand a partnership that has already lasted for over 25 years."

Last month, HP announced Hurd's resignation after an investigation found he violated the company's standards of business conduct by improperly filing expenses. The board appointed CFO Cathie Lesjak on an interim basis and is expected to name a formal successor soon. Todd Bradley, executive VP of HP's personal systems group, is thought to be the favorite.

As part of the settlement, HP said that Hurd "has agreed to waive his rights to the 330,177 performance-based restricted stock units granted to Mr. Hurd in January 17, 2008" and to the "15,853 time-based restricted stock units granted to Mr. Hurd on December 11, 2009."

HP said those stock options "represent the only remaining compensation that Mr. Hurd was entitled to receive under the terms of the Separation Agreement," adding that the terms of the Separation Agreement "have not otherwise been modified."

In its lawsuit, HP had said: "Hurd's position as president and member of the board of directors for Oracle puts HP's trade secrets and confidential information in jeopardy/ As a competitor of HP, he will necessarily call upon HP's trade secrets and confidential information in performing his job duties for Oracle."
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