• CEO Buhannic put on leave last week after assault accusation
  • Buhannic condemns ‘cabal of board members’ in statement

TradingScreen Inc.’s Chief Executive Officer Philippe Buhannic condemned board members who placed him on leave from the financial-software company he co-founded after he was accused of assaulting one of his employees.

TradingScreen’s leadership dispute is the most difficult challenge the company has faced, Buhannic said in a statement published online on May 23. Company directors put Buhannic on a six-month paid leave last week, on the heels of an internal probe over a complaint that he "physically assaulted" a worker in the company’s New York headquarters, according to a transcript of a state court hearing in Delaware.

Buhannic criticized the board members and questioned their motives in his statement.

“This challenge is the toughest we have faced so far by its unfairness," Buhannic said in the statement. “Not only are the rights of shareholders being challenged and a cabal of board members spreading erroneous facts, but the temporary management is also not adequately prepared to lead the company."

TradingScreen has been embroiled in a legal battle between Buhannic and members of the company’s board, who sued him earlier this month after he refused to accept their decision to place him on leave and name Director Pierre Schroeder interim CEO in his absence, according to court documents. An internal probe at TradingScreen found "clear and convincing evidence" that Buhannic had "physically assaulted" an employee, according to the court transcript.

Buhannic has long been a fixture in the electronic trading industry. He co-founded TradingScreen, which sells software that helps money managers send investments to the market, in 1999. Bloomberg LP, the parent company of Bloomberg News, offers trading systems to clients and is a competitor of TradingScreen.

TradingScreen was also involved in a dispute over payouts tied to preferred shares, according to documents from a lawsuit filed in Delaware last year. TCV VI LP sued TradingScreen in September, after TradingScreen refused its request to redeem its preferred shares of the company. TradingScreen tried to avoid the payment, saying that it would threaten the company’s ability to continue, according to the documents.

Delaware Chancery Court Judge Travis Laster hasn’t yet ruled on the preferred-share dispute. Laster is also overseeing the board’s suit against Buhannic in connection with the assault claims.

The case is Pierre Schroeder v. Philippe Buhannic, No. 12328, Delaware Chancery Court (Wilmington).

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