Harris Diamond, the new CEO of ad giant McCann, apparently plays hardball. We recently told you how he likes to fire people who frown when they disagree with him too much.Now we learn that he forced a public apology out of a group of executives in January after they left his old agency, Weber Shandwick, and went to work for a competing firm, WPP Group’s Hill & Knowlton.
Weber (owned by Interpublic Group) sued H&K COO Ken Luce; and EVP Jody Venturoni after they and five other executives went to H&K. Shortly after their departure, the Omni Hotels account followed them from Weber to H&K. Ad Age noted that “An Omni spokeswoman said that the shift was unrelated to the lawsuit.”
Diamond, as the CEO of Weber, approved the lawsuit, which claimed that the group had taken confidential information with them to their new employer.
Here’s the text of Venturoni’s apology, per Ad Age, which was published as part of a settlement between the two sides:
“During my last year of employment with Weber Shandwick and immediately after my resignation, I took confidential information belonging to Weber Shandwick. I shared some of this information with employees at Hill & Knowlton. This information has since been returned to Weber Shandwick or destroyed. Weber Shandwick took justified legal action to protect its own business interests and those of its clients. We have reached a confidential settlement of this matter.”
In addition, Hill & Knowlton stated:
“We regret the circumstances that led Weber Shandwick to take legal action against H&K and certain of its employees. We understand Weber Shandwick took this action to protect its business interests. We have reached a confidential settlement of these matters.”
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