*NEWS*HP STILL LURING LEXMARK EXECUTIVES

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*NEWS*HP STILL LURING LEXMARK EXECUTIVES

 user 2006-12-05 at 12:48:00 pm Views: 76
  • #16862

    Former executive lured others over to HP, Lexmark alleges
    In
    the ongoing legal battle over a top Lexmark International executive who
    defected to industry leader Hewlett-Packard, the Lexington-based
    printer maker now alleges the executive may have helped HP lure away
    eight salespeople.

    Nine more have been contacted by HP but
    have not left Lexmark, Lexmark’s attorney told Fayette Circuit Judge
    Thomas Clark earlier this month.The allegations are the continued
    fallout from a legal case that began earlier this year after HP hired
    away Bruce Dahlgren, one of Lexmark’s top 20 executives, a Lexmark
    official testified.The companies will be back in court today to discuss
    a proposed second deposition of Dahlgren.Earlier this month, Lexmark
    attorney Larry Sykes asked Clark to approve his request seeking more
    information from HP about an apparent “concerted effort by
    Hewlett-Packard to hire Lexmark sales people — sales people who were
    in fact in Mr. Dahlgren’s organization when he was at Lexmark.”Earlier
    this year, Clark issued a temporary restraining order, ruling that
    Dahlgren must abide by an employee agreement, which prohibits him from
    working on North American sales strategy and other issues — his job at
    Lexmark — for one year and from luring away Lexmark’s employees or
    certain customers for three years.A judge in California, where
    non-compete clauses are generally prohibited, said earlier this year
    that Lexmark could not enforce that ruling. The California judge later
    ruled the non-compete and recruiting clauses in the employment
    agreement were void in California. The California case is
    ongoing.Representatives from each company declined to comment for this
    story. The companies’ lawyers did not return calls, nor did
    Dahlgren.Sykes, Lexmark’s attorney, said in Fayette Circuit Court
    earlier this month that eight former Lexmark sales employees have
    joined HP recently. He asked Clark for expedited discovery times and
    for additional information from HP about the contact the industry
    leader, and Dahlgren, had with those former Lexmark employees.”One
    reason we want to expedite it is to stop the drain of salespeople…,”
    Sykes told the court. “We have more than just a suspicion that perhaps
    Mr. Dahlgren might be involved.”Sykes went on to note an e-mail
    exchange between Dahlgren and HP human resources executive Rand Dunn
    over a Lexmark sales worker who had expressed interest in working for
    HP.Sykes read an e-mail Dunn sent to Dahlgren regarding Lexmark
    employee Ariel Manalo:”Hi, Bruce. It’s already working. How aggressive
    do you propose I respond? Is he an A-plus player?”Sykes said Dahlgren
    replied, “Ariel is a strong player in Northern California. My
    recommendation is to ask him to forward a resume of some form to you. I
    think we’ll want to come across as open and receptive. Word will travel
    quickly. My guess is that we will only get a few before Lexmark pushes
    back hard, and we should be selective in those first few.”The e-mail
    creates “a very reasonable suspicion,” Sykes told the judge, that
    Dahlgren was playing a role in recruiting or hiring people. Doing so
    would violate the terms of his Lexmark employee agreement because his
    opinion of former Lexmark employees would be based on confidential
    information he obtained during his time at Lexmark.Manalo said Friday
    his decision to join HP “had nothing to do with Bruce.”"I lived 10
    miles from Hewlett-Packard headquarters, and it was me that pursued
    that opportunity,” he said, adding he had no contact with Dahlgren in
    the hiring process.Two more of the eight former Lexmark employees
    contacted by the Herald-Leader said their leaving had nothing to do
    with Dahlgren.”I haven’t been in touch with Bruce since over a year and
    a half ago or so,” said Larry Goldstein, who worked for Lexmark in
    California and is now relocating from California to Arizona for
    HP.Stanley Kazee also said his decision was “completely
    independent.”The other five HP employees either declined to comment or
    did not return calls.All nine of the current Lexmark employees whom
    Sykes said HP had recruited declined to comment or did not return
    calls.Thomas Metzger, who represents HP and Dahlgren, countered in
    court that Dahlgren has not been “out there soliciting” and Lexmark
    executives, in depositions taken for the case, “have no facts — zero
    facts — to suggest that Mr. Dahlgren has been involved in soliciting
    employees or encouraging employees to leave.”Sykes later told the judge
    that the e-mail exchange between Dunn and Dahlgren had been designated
    as viewable to only the attorneys in the case, though, so the
    executives at Lexmark would not have had knowledge of it.Metzger also
    called Sykes’ requests for more information, specifically all
    communications between HP and Lexmark employees, a “massive fishing
    expedition.”Clark ruled that the eight Lexmark employees hired by HP
    could be deposed in the case if Lexmark wished.The companies are
    expected to be in court again today on a motion by Lexmark’s attorneys
    to compel a second deposition of Dahlgren.In filings last week, the
    Lexmark attorneys wrote that their deposition of HP executive Vyomesh
    Joshi — Dahlgren’s supervisor — showed that Dahlgren’s development of
    a worldwide market strategy would compete against Lexmark in North
    America and violate Clark’s temporary restraining order.Joshi later
    said in the deposition that there is “‘a ‘firewall’ in terms of what
    they are doing with respect to North America,” the attorneys wrote, but
    added the testimony entitles Lexmark to question Dahlgren
    again.Dahlgren’s perceived importance to HP is his experience in
    selling printing solutions, which involves helping companies improve
    workflow and printing needs.He left Lexmark on Jan. 9 after nearly six
    years as a vice president and general manager, overseeing North
    American sales and marketing for Lexmark’s Printing Solutions and
    Services Division, where he earned up to $750,000 annually, according
    to court testimony.