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Oracle to pay Hurd $950K

Mark Hurd, who resigned as CEO of Hewlett-Packard a month ago with a severance package of almost $40 million, reportedly will be paid $950 000 a year as Oracle's new co-president, and could stand to make as much as $10 million in bonuses.

According to filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, Hurd also will be offered a stock option to buy 10 million shares of Oracle now, and will be eligible to buy 5 million more annually for the next five years, as long as he stays employed by Oracle.

Hurd also will be up for nomination to the company's board of directors.

Oracle hired Hurd as co-president 6 September, a month after he left HP under pressure following an internal investigation into a sexual harassment complaint filed by a former HP contractor, Jodie Fisher, and accusations that he falsified expense reports to cover his personal relationship with Fisher.

Hurd had spent five years at the helm of HP, and was widely credited with driving costs down and profits up, as well as completing the integration of Compaq and expanding HP's reach through such acquisitions as services vendor EDS.

After Hurd's resignation, Oracle founder and CEO Larry Ellison became one of his most vocal supporters, sharply criticising the HP board for "the worst personnel decision since the idiots on the Apple board fired Steve Jobs many years ago.”

Upon hiring Hurd, Ellison said that: "Mark did a brilliant job at HP, and I expect he'll do even better at Oracle. There is no executive in the IT world with more relevant experience than Mark."

HP on 8 September filed a lawsuit against Hurd in a California state court, saying that his hiring by Oracle violates confidentiality provisions in his severance agreement. The HP lawsuit can be found here.

"Mark Hurd agreed to and signed agreements designed to protect HP's trade secrets and confidential information," HP said in a statement. "HP intends to enforce those agreements."

Ellison fired back later in the day, saying that the lawsuit threatened to damage the working relationship between the two companies.

"Oracle has long viewed HP as an important partner," Ellison said in a statement. "By filing this vindictive lawsuit against Oracle and Mark Hurd, the HP board is acting with utter disregard for that partnership, our joint customers, and their own shareholders and employees. The HP Board is making it virtually impossible for Oracle and HP to continue to cooperate and work together in the IT marketplace."

Oracle and HP have been long time partners. However, Oracle is looking to expand beyond its traditional software business to become more of a complete IT solutions provider. Earlier this year, Oracle bought Sun Microsystems for $7.4 billion, a move that not only brought such Sun technologies as Solaris and Java into the fold, but also its extensive hardware portfolio.

Oracle officials are looking to tightly integrate their software with Sun hardware to create appliances, though they also will sell systems that will run other vendors' software.

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