According to a lawsuit filed June 15 in U.S. District Court in White Plains, the Armonk company accused Rodrigo Kede Lima of violating a non-competition agreement and abusing trade secrets, and demanded the return of nearly $1.3 million in stock options. “Lima’s immediate employment at the highest level of Microsoft violated his non-competitive agreement, in which case he could not avoid using his IBM customer relationship and his knowledge of IBM’s confidential business plans against IBM,” the complaint states. “
Lima responded in a court statement that IBM had no legitimate interest in preventing him from accepting the position of vice president of a Latin American company.
“My job at Microsoft doesn’t put IBM at any competitive disadvantage, but if I don’t allow a year, he’s going to suffer “enormous over-the-top difficulties,” ” he said.
Lima resigned on 18 May and plans to start new work on 20 May. After IBM objected, the start date was postponed to June 19. Now, he has to wait until at least mid-July, after a federal judge, Philip M. Halperin, temporarily barred Lima from working at Microsoft on July 14.
Lima, who is Brazilian, lives in Riverside, Connecticut, and has worked for IBM for 25 years. By 2012, he was general manager of Latin America. In 2017, he was promoted to Global Technical Services Manager. In January, he was appointed general manager of Integrated Accounts, overseeing 77 of the most valuable clients.
“Lima is one of the top 1 percent of IBM’s top executives, sitting with the chairman and chief executive,” the complaint states. “
IBM claims that Lima has corporate secrets and strategic secrets, including confidential information about key customers. The company sees cloud computing as one of the most competitive areas with Microsoft, where Lima is said to have an in-depth knowledge of IBM products under development.
The complaint says Lima poses a competitive threat “not only because he understands the company’s trade secrets, but also because he has established contacts with important IBM customers and potential customers.” “
“Latin America is particularly competitive in a region where customer relationships are particularly strong,” the complaint said. “
Over the past five years, Lima has received more than $4 million in compensation and equity.
He agreed not to accept a competitor’s position or recruit IBM customers for 12 months after he left the company.
Lima thinks IBM is exaggerating what he knows about products and strategies.
For example, the financial information he can access is independent of the current quarterly reporting period. He is not aware of global business and investment plans for the next 12 months. He has no business with IBM in Latin America since July 2018.
He says he knows little about cloud computing, which IBM claims is “questionable” because of Microsoft’s key competitor in the cloud computing space, while Latin America accounts for only 5 percent of IBM’s global technology market.
He claims that he has returned all IBM documents, deleted emails and documents from his personal devices, and did not disclose any confidential information to anyone outside the company.
“I didn’t violate it and I’m not going to violate it,” he said of the non-competition agreement. “
His decision to leave IBM was not economically motivated. In fact, he announced that he had confiscated $8.5 million in stock options that would be owned by 2022.
He says his motivation comes from “deep dissatisfaction with working for the company.”
He explained that IBM is highly centralized and that even if he is a senior executive, he does not have the authority to make basic management decisions without the company’s approval.
“I tried to change IBM’s highly focused corporate culture, but after years of trying, I realized that my efforts under my current leadership were futile. “
He said that if he was banned from working for Microsoft or any technology company in the fast-growing industry, his skills would be eliminated, his managerial skills would decline, and he might not be able to find comparable positions within a year. (TechWeb)