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Brier Dudley's blog

Brier Dudley offers a critical look at technology and business issues affecting the Northwest.

January 28, 2010 at 2:01 PM

Microsoft earnings report includes CFO’s hush deal

Buried beneath the blowout sales figures in Microsoft’s earnings report are new details of the deal made with its former chief financial officer, Chris Liddell, who resigned Nov. 24 to become CFO at GM.

In addition to the $1.9 million sayonara payout disclosed last month, Liddell’s Dec. 1 “resignation agreement” bars him from ever writing, speaking, blogging or podcasting anything about Microsoft and its executives covered by a confidentiality agreement he signed in 2005.

Unless he first gets permission from its HR boss, Lisa Brummel.

If Liddell lets slip any inside details of his four-year tenure in Redmond, he’ll have to pay Microsoft $285,000, plus attorney fees and collection costs.

The agreement says he “will not communicate with the media or press,

directly or indirectly, except with the approval of Lisa Brummel, and that I will not blog or otherwise author in any manner any online or printed

publications or writings (including but not limited to any blog, posting, article, or book) or participate in any interviews, broadcasts, podcasts, or

similar audio interviews about Microsoft or its officers relating to any information or data considered confidential or proprietary under Microsoft’s

Confidential Information Policy or the Employee Agreement that I previously signed on April 21, 2005.”

The penalty section:

If Microsoft establishes a breach of these obligations, I agree that Microsoft shall be entitled to recover from me, at Microsoft’s

option, either the sum of $285,000 as liquidated damages, or actual damages, but not both types of damages, as well as reasonable attorney’s

fees and costs incurred to enforce the Agreement.

No wonder there aren’t many memoirs written by former Microsoft executives.

Comments | Topics: cfo, chris liddell, Microsoft

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