Ex-Interpublic Group CEO Geier Sues Mozido Over Option Fight

Ex-Interpublic Group of Cos. Chief Executive Officer Philip Geier Jr. sued his former colleagues on the board of Mozido Inc. for refusing to honor an agreement allowing the millionaire advertising executive and Republican activist to buy a stake in the mobile payment-system maker.

Geier, who serves as an adviser to potential presidential candidate John Kasich, accused Mozido directors Tuesday of maneuvering to keep him from exercising an option to buy 1 percent of the closely held software company’s shares, according to a Delaware Chancery Court lawsuit. Geier said he got the option by agreeing to serve on Mozido’s board.

“The option cannot be obtained in the open market or from alternate sources, but can only be obtained directly from defendants,” Geier’s lawyers said in the complaint. That makes it “a unique property right.”

Geier, identified in Advertising Age magazine as a lifelong Republican, serves as a director of New Day in America, a political-action committee formed by Kasich’s supporters to back the Ohio Republican governor’s potential campaign. Geier retired as Interpublic’s top executive in 2000 and now runs a consulting firm. He also serves as a special adviser to Lazard Freres & Co., according to his website.

Caitlin New, a spokesman for Mozido, declined to immediately comment on Geier’s suit.

Option Offered

Austin, Texas-based Mozido develops cloud-based mobile payment systems and marketing software which allow consumers to pay for goods with mobile phones.

Geier contends that Michael Liberty, Mozido’s founder and chairman, asked him in 2011 to join the company’s board and offered him an option to buy 1 percent of the software maker’s shares for $13.5 million. The option vested after Geier served for a year as a director, according to the court filing. Geier left the board in 2013.

When the millionaire sought to exercise the 1 percent option, he learned Mozido officials had transferred the software maker’s assets to another company in hopes of insulating new investors from claims by earlier backers, according to court papers.

The case is Geier v. Mozido, CA 10931, Delaware Chancery Court (Wilmington).

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