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PeopleSoft Inc. has snagged a top Hewlett-Packard Co. in-house lawyer as its new general counsel. James Shaughnessy joined PeopleSoft about two weeks ago, replacing Anne Jordan, who held the post for 4 1/2 years. Shaughnessy, who had been deputy general counsel in the 300-lawyer legal department at Hewlett-Packard, joins PeopleSoft at a time when the company’s future is in doubt. PeopleSoft made the hire quietly in the middle of a trial over the U.S. Department of Justice’s efforts to block a hostile takeover by Oracle Corp. Shaughnessy worked as a deputy GC at Compaq Corp. before Hewlett-Packard acquired the company in 2002. Prior to joining Compaq, he was assistant general counsel for Digital Equipment Corp. “His background could not be more perfect for PeopleSoft,” said Steve Swasey, a spokesman for the Pleasanton-based company. “He’s a seasoned, experienced general counsel in the tech field.” Swasey said Shaughnessy has extensive experience in contracts litigation, mergers and acquisitions, antitrust and securities law, as well as international experience. He received his law degree in 1979 from the University of Michigan Law School. Shaughnessy did not return a call placed late Friday. The company disclosed the hire in a June 28 filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The filing notes that Shaughnessy owns 25,000 shares of PeopleSoft stock and has the option to purchase 250,000 shares at a price of $17.57, which is about 50 cents above Friday’s $17.05 closing price. Jordan told the company she was resigning in November, but agreed to stay on until a replacement was found. Her announcement came as the company was battling Oracle’s unsolicited $9.4 billion takeover bid. A source close to Jordan said in February that she has had little direct involvement in that litigation. PeopleSoft has several outside counsel fighting Oracle’s hostile takeover. Mark Leddy, a partner at New York’s Cleary, Gottlieb, Steen & Hamilton, and Gary Reback, a partner at Carr & Ferrell, are representing the firm in relation to the DOJ trial. Michael Kahn, of Folger Levin & Kahn, is the lead attorney in PeopleSoft’s suit against Oracle for interfering with its business. That case is set to go to trial Nov. 1 in Alameda Superior Court before Judge Ronald Sabraw. PeopleSoft wouldn’t say how many lawyers work in its in-house legal department. The company has 11,800 employees and had revenue last year of $2.3 billion.

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