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Jonathan Cohen had never handled a CEO placement before, so he was surprised to find himself at the negotiating table two weeks ago with a couple of Silicon Valley stars. Cohen, an employment litigator at Kirkpatrick & Lockhart Nicholson Graham, was hired by Hewlett-Packard Co.’s new chief executive officer, Mark Hurd, to negotiate the final terms for his new job. Representing HP: Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati Chairman Larry Sonsini and employee benefits and compensation partner John Aguirre. “Working with them was a unique opportunity, a true pleasure,” Cohen said. Cohen got the job through a colleague in Kirkpatrick’s Pittsburgh office who has ties to Hurd. “It was an opportunity to do something really neat,” Cohen said. The assignment has also boosted Kirkpatrick & Lockhart’s standing in Silicon Valley. The firm set up shop in San Francisco only five years ago. Hurd had already negotiated the terms of his new post by the time Kirkpatrick & Lockhart came on the scene. Cohen and his team jumped in and in 10 days helped hammer out details for the Securities and Exchange Commission filings, which describe Hurd’s compensation package at HP, as well as the terms of his departure as CEO of NCR Corp. Hurd will receive a base salary of $1.4 million, the same amount that ousted HP CEO Carly Fiorina had made. Hurd had a base salary of $935,000 at NCR plus significant equity in the company. At HP he’ll receive a bonus of at least $2.8 million if certain performance goals are met and long-term incentive pay of $4.2 million. Hurd also received a signing bonus of $2 million. Sonsini said he couldn’t comment on the details of the negotiation or whether he was involved in the selection process. He previously had represented HP in its battle to acquire Compaq Corp., which was fiercely contested by former HP board member Walter Hewlett. “My role was primarily to advise the board of directors of HP and work with the chairman of the compensation committee and board in putting together a package and structuring the relationship,” Sonsini said of the recent deal. As for Cohen, he enjoyed his turn at the corporate table. “When I’m called in, things have usually gone wrong,” the litigation partner said. The negotiations over Hurd’s appointment took place in a “very cooperative environment.”

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