British vacuum manufacturer Dyson has revealed it is planning to sue former chief executive Max Conze for allegedly “leaking company secrets”.
According a report by the BBC, Dyson has accused Mr Conze of “the disclosure of confidential information and a breach of his fiduciary duties”.
A spokesman for Dyson said: “The Dyson board has decided to bring a claim against Max Conze at the High Court of Justice in London in relation to his actions while chief executive.”
Mr Conze, who stepped down as chief executive in October this year, has denied the allegations and said it would cause an “unnecessary distraction” for Dyson staff.
He became CEO in 2011 after a stint running Dyson’s US business.
During his tenure, Dyson saw a “huge” increase in sales of its products. Profits of its vacuum cleaner and air purifier business increased by 41 per cent last year to £631 million.
The alleged breaches are said to include: “Disclosing confidential product information to third parties, breaching Dyson’s confidentiality rules. Using Dyson resources and information to evaluate an investment opportunity for his own benefit and/or for the benefit of a venture capital firm, rather than for Dyson’s benefit – breaching his fiduciary duties. Failing to follow lawful and reasonable instructions regarding his conduct and focus of attention.”
In response, Mr Conze said: “I did nothing of the sort. During my six years as CEO of Dyson, the sales and profits will have tripled with the company growing from 2,500 to 10,000 staff.”
He said Dyson sold 13 million machines last year, up from five million in 2010.
“This couldn’t have happened without my total commitment to the business and its people,” he argued.
“This ridiculous allegation is merely trying to distract attention from the claims that Dyson know I am about to issue.”
The BBC report said that Dyson refused to comment on whether the breaches were in connection with its project to build a new electric car, which was only recently revealed.
- Image top: Founder James Dyson