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IBM sues former HR VP for joining Microsoft

Over the weekend, IBM sued its former HR VP and chief diversity officer, Lindsay-Rae McIntyre, alleging violation of a one-year non-competitive agreement, Reuters reported.

In the lawsuit filed in a New York federal court on Monday, IBM said McIntyre, who was recently named as Microsoft’s next chief diversity officer (CDO), "abruptly resigned to compete against IBM", adding that she was in possession of highly confidential and sensitive information about IBM’s diversity strategies, hiring targets, technologies and innovations.

IBM said it sought to enforce McIntyre’s non-competition agreement for the 12-month period and recover from her the equity compensation she has forfeited by “violating her contractual duties” to IBM.

In her motion filed on Tuesday opposing the lawsuit, McIntyre said IBM cannot demonstrate irreparable harm because there is no evidence that she has or will misappropriate any IBM confidential or proprietary information, and that the company was fully protected by an ongoing non-disclosure agreement, Reuters stated.

McIntyre added she had informed IBM in January about accepting the position at Microsoft and that IBM terminated her employment thereafter.

A Microsoft spokesperson told Reuters: "We have no interest in any of IBM’s confidential information."

However, IBM said McIntyre using and disclosing, whether intentionally or not, its confidential and sensitive information would place the company at a competitive disadvantage.

Meanwhile, Bloomberg reported that Judge Vincent Briccetti has temporarily barred McIntyre from moving to Microsoft.

The case is International Business Machines Corp v Lindsay-Rae McIntyre, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York, No. 18-cv-1210-VB.

According to McIntyre's LinkedIn profile, while she was HR VP and chief diversity officer, she owned the "corporate processes to identify, assess, grow and advance executive talent for IBM, as well as progress the pipeline of future talent."

In that role, her responsibilities also involved "determining candidacy for the senior most leadership teams, and developing industry and domain specific development interventions to build new leaders for a future of cloud and cognitive computing."

"All of this work is inclusive of leading and defining the diversity agenda globally throughout the company and the world," her profile stated.

According to a press statement, the CDO role at Microsoft involves implementing and driving a multitude of existing cross-company initiatives to further Microsoft's progress in building a diverse and inclusive culture.

Apart from leading Microsoft's efforts internally, the press statement said "McIntyre will also play a key role in building partnerships and working with leading organistions outside of Microsoft to help advance diversity and inclusion in the tech sector overall."

Photo / 123RF

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