Former SAP chief Leo Apotheker started his job as HP’s new CEO last Monday–and already he’s on the lam. Why? Oracle, which is in a $4 billion software theft suit against SAP, has hired private detectives to track down and subpoena Apotheker, who Oracle says could provide valuable testimony in the legal battle.
Where in the world is Leo Apotheker? And why is he hiding? According to Reuters‘ sources, HP may be trying to avoid embroiling the company’s new chief exec in the legal wrangling, fearing it might damage his reputation.
After the long-running soap opera that was HP’s previous CEO, Mark Hurd (who is now at Oracle), HP could be forgiven for trying to avoid as many negative Oracle-related headlines as possible. Of course, if Apotheker stays in hiding, the negative PR value could outweigh the problems of having him testify.
Apotheker did in fact head up the SAP subsidiary responsible for the stolen software, TomorrowNow, but reportedly shut down the unit once uncovering the abuse. SAP claims it owes only millions to Oracle; Oracle, with help from Apotheker’s testimony, believes it is owed billions in damages.
Both HP and Apotheker’s law firm have refused to accept Oracle’s subpoena, and HP has accused Oracle of harassment.
In the meantime, Oracle PI’s are hunting for Apotheker, a source tells Reuters. If he’s abroad, his subpoena–along with Oracle’s billions–will have to wait until his return.
Perhaps Oracle should enlist some of HP’s crime-fighting technology: