Oracle yesterday announced that it would be hiring former HP CEO Mark Hurd to fill the position of co-president. However, it seems HP is unhappy that its recently departed chief executive has found a new home so quickly, and the company is suing Hurd for breach of contract.
HP's lawsuit claims Mark Hurd was paid millions of dollars in cash, stock and stock options in exchange for protecting HP's trade secrets. The company said in a statement that the suit, filed yesterday in Santa Clara County, California, is just an effort to enforce the agreements entered into by Mark Hurd. Further, HP believes that Hurd's presence at Oracle violates confidentiality agreements that Hurd signed on three different occasions.
"Despite being paid millions of dollars in cash, stock and stock options in exchange for Hurd’s agreements to protect HP’s trade secrets and confidential information during his employment and following his departure from his positions at HP as Chairman of the Board, Chief Executive Officer, and President, HP is informed and believes and thereon alleges that Hurd has put HP’s most valuable trade secrets and confidential information in peril. Hurd accepted positions with Oracle Corporation (“Oracle”), a competitor of HP, yesterday as its President and as a member of its Board of Directors. In his new positions, Hurd will be in a situation in which he cannot perform his duties for Oracle without necessarily using and disclosing HP’s trade secrets and confidential information to others."
HP didn't have Hurd sign a non-compete agreement because they're invalid in the State of California (except for equity stakeholders). However, as HP has proved, that doesn't mean the company can't file a civil suit against a former employee if trade secrets are at stake. We'll keep you posted on how this plays out.