How is Mark Hurd viewed in Oracle

HP fears that ex-boss Mark Hurd will betray its secrets

The change of the killed HP boss Mark Hurd to Oracle causes trouble. The world's largest computer manufacturer Hewlett-Packard fears that the competing software and server group Oracle could get sensitive company secrets through the ingloriously chased away Hurd. Out of this concern, HP sued its former number one - just hours after Hurd took up his new job as one of two presidents at Oracle.

Hurd has signed confidentiality agreements, HP announced in a company blog. "HP intends to enforce these agreements." Most recently, Hurd had contracted to secrecy a month ago when he had to leave HP because of incorrect expense reports and the liaison with an external employee. In return, he received a handsome severance package worth around $ 35 million.

Oracle reacted promptly and quite annoyed to the lawsuit. HP has long been viewed as an important partner. The lawsuit now shows a complete disdain for this partnership, for the mutual customers and also for the shareholders and employees of HP itself. "The HP board makes it practically impossible that Oracle and HP can continue to work together."

The demonstratively expressed disappointment of Oracle is, however, only part of a dispute that is not only carried out through the PR departments. The two groups are now at war in many areas of the IT market, not least with servers. Oracle, actually the arch-rival of the German company software manufacturer SAP, had taken over the server specialist Sun and thus also entered the hardware business. Oracle CEO Larry Ellison made no secret of the fact that he brought Hurd in precisely because of his experience in the computer business.

The Oracle presidents lead the day-to-day business, from which the 66-year-old company founder Ellison has largely withdrawn. "There is no executive in the IT world with more relevant experience than Mark," said Ellison. The stockbrokers saw it the same way: The share jumped more than 6 percent over the course of the day.

Hurd is considered one of the best managers in the technology industry. The 53-year-old had massively enlarged Hewlett-Packard through acquisitions in the highly profitable service business and thus steered the company through the economic crisis almost without any damage. His simultaneous appointment to the important board of directors of Oracle immediately sparked speculation that Hurd could one day advance to the top of the IT giant and inherit Ellison.

The lawsuit, which HP filed in a court in Santa Clara, California on Tuesday, also has a personal touch: Ellison is considered a good friend of Hurd and had publicly criticized the manager's expulsion. "That was the stupidest personnel decision since the idiots on the Apple board of directors fired Steve Jobs many years ago," wrote Ellison, known for his verbal attacks, in an email to the New York Times in early August.

The 53-year-old Hurd had stumbled upon his relationship with ex-outside employee Jodie Fisher, who appeared at customer and employee events. He often took them out to dinner at company expense. She later claimed he sexually molested her. These allegations were not confirmed, however, and a settlement was agreed. Because of the wrong expense reports, Hurd had to leave anyway. The story boiled up because the woman had starred in a number of adult films in the 1990s. (With material from dpa) / (jk)

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