Ex-AlixPartners Consultants Barred From Using Secrets

Two former AlixPartners LLP consultants who went to McKinsey & Co. were barred by a judge from enticing ex-colleagues to defect or using their old employer’s trade secrets.

Eric Thompson, formerly of AlixPartners’ Hong Kong office, and Ivo Naumann, who worked at its Shanghai branch, can’t pitch their services to any client they served in the 12 months before they left the turnaround firm in January, Delaware Chancery Court Judge Donald Parsons ruled, citing the terms of their employment agreement.

The case pits AlixPartners, one of the best-known restructuring firms focusing on bankrupt companies, against McKinsey, one of the world’s most influential management consultants. AlixPartners advised General Motors Co. (GM) on its restructuring when the automaker filed for bankruptcy protection in 2009. It’s also working with computer-maker Dell Inc. on its turnaround after founder Michael Dell took the company private last year.

Thompson and Naumann are banned from “using or disclosing any AlixPartners trade secrets and other confidential and proprietary information,” Parsons said in a temporary restraining order issued May 9.

AlixPartners, based in New York, claimed the two former directors misappropriated business forecasts, marketing materials and contact lists when they joined McKinsey’s restructuring unit. Those actions violated their employment contracts, AlixPartners executives said in court filings.

Other Defections

McKinsey, based in New York, has provided advisers to two-thirds of the companies on the Fortune 1000 list, according to the firm’s website. It has more than 100 offices worldwide. Among its clients are the Bank of England and Wells Fargo & Co. (WFC)

Yolande Daeninck, a McKinsey spokeswoman, declined to comment Parsons’s ruling. McKinsey isn’t named as a defendant in the suit.

AlixPartners officials said in the complaint Thompson and Naumann followed six colleagues who jumped to McKinsey’s new restructuring unit. The pair e-mailed proprietary information to themselves before they left, company lawyers claimed.

Parsons ordered Thompson and Naumann to return “all hard copies of AlixPartners’ trade secrets and other confidential and proprietary information in their possession,” according to court filings.

The case is AlixPartners LLP v. Thompson, CA No. 9523, Delaware Chancery Court (Wilmington).

To contact the reporter on this story: Jef Feeley in Wilmington, Delaware at jfeeley@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Michael Hytha at mhytha@bloomberg.net Joe Schneider, Andrew Dunn

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