Billionaire Sir James Dyson’s company is suing former chief executive Max Conze claiming he leaked the company’s secrets.
Mr Conze, who was dismissed from the company famed for its vacuum cleaners and hair dryers in early October, is alleged to have breached the company’s confidentiality rules by giving information to third parties, reports The Telegraph.
It is understood the legal claim against Mr Conze, who joined the company in 2010 and was promoted to the top job a year later, relates to allegations he passed on information on yet to be launched products.
The case, which was filed in the High Court on Wednesday, is also understood to involve allegations that he breached his duties as a chief executive by using Dyson resources and information to evaluate an investment for his own and a venture capital group’s benefit, rather than his employer’s.
A further claim relates to allegations Mr Conze failed to adhere to lawful and reasonable instructions over his conduct and focus of attention.
In a statement 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 including the disclosure of confidential information, and a breach of his fiduciary duties”.
The legal claim aims to recover damages for breach of contract and comes at a critical time for Dyson, which recently confirmed it is developing a driverless car.
German by birth, Mr Conze was formerly a member of the German army parachute regiment, and went on to work for Procter & Gamble for 18 years, working in Europe, China and America.
Mr Conze denied any wrongdoing and said that he would soon be issuing his own legal claims against Dyson.
He added: “I did nothing of the sort. During my six years as chief executive of Dyson the sales and profits will have tripled with the company growing from 2,500 to 10,000 staff.
“When I arrived from Frankfurt in 2010 Dyson sold around 5m machines, in 2016 it sold 13m and that momentum is continuing. This couldn’t have happened without my total commitment to the business and its people. This ridiculous allegation is merely trying to distract attention from the claims that Dyson know I am about to issue.”
“I am sorry for the unnecessary distraction all this will inevitably cause the skilled and effective team at Dyson.”