Eric Thompson of Singapore and Ivo Naumann of Shanghai allegedly
took to McKinsey confidential marketing materials, client
information and even contacts of Lisa Donahue, the global leader of
Alix's restructuring practice.
The pair violated their employment agreements and their duties to
AlixPartners, according to the complaint filed late Wednesday in
Delaware's Court of Chancery.
Alix asked the court to bar the pair from using the information they
took and from soliciting other Alix employees. The firm also asked
the court to bar Thompson from working for McKinsey for a year.
McKinsey did not immediately respond to a request for comment. The
lawsuit said McKinsey's chief executive, Dominic Barton, told Alix
he expected Thompson and Naumann to honor their commitments.
A spokesman for AlixPartners declined to comment.
McKinsey is among the most influential consulting firms in the world
and specializes in strategic planning. In recent years, it has been
expanding into the restructuring of ailing companies.
"McKinsey is using this as a point of entry for its other advisory
businesses, such as marketing strategy and supply chain management,"
said David Pauker of Goldin Associates, which specializes in
advising companies in financial distress.
McKinsey has been playing catch-up to the major players in the
field, such as FTI Consulting Inc, Alvarez & Marsal and Alix, in
part by recruiting their staff.
In the middle of 2013, Thompson and Naumann were recruited by
McKinsey director Jon Garcia and were encouraged to leave by
McKinsey's Barton, according to the lawsuit. Barton even approved a
special arrangement for Naumann, allowing him to serve as a partner
of both McKinsey and its Recovery and Transformation Services unit.
[to top of second column]
Naumann allegedly forwarded numerous documents to his Yahoo! email
account in the days prior to his departure. These included salary
and bonus information for Alix consultants, client pitches and
AlixPartners' revenue parameters for Asia, which was sent to him
from the firm's chief executive, Fred Crawford. Crawford instructed
Naumann not to share it with anyone, according to the lawsuit.
Naumann was so busy forwarding information to his personal email
account that the lawsuit alleges he lost track of what he had and
took some reports more than once.
"Mr. Naumann appeared to be making a frantic effort to steal
whatever documents he could before he left AlixPartners," said the
Thompson joined Alix's Hong Kong office in May 2011 after stints
with oil producer Rubicon Offshore International, as chief
restructuring officer, and the Harmony Capital Partners hedge fund.
Naumann joined Alix in 2007 in Shanghai.
The case is AlixPartners LLP v Eric Thompson and Ivo Naumann,
Delaware Court of Chancery, No. 9523
(Reporting by Tom Hals in Wilmington, Delaware.
editing by Andre Grenon)
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