IBM seeks to stop exec going to Dell

Big Blue attempts to enforce non-compete clause

IBM has launched a lawsuit to try to stop David Johnson, its vice president for corporate development, from defecting to Dell.

The move comes soon after HP and EMC reached a settlement allowing former EMC staffer David Donatelli to work at HP, provided he doesn’t work in the storage sphere for a year.

It also comes not long after IBM was embroiled in a similar suit with a former employee, Mark Papermaster, who left to work at Apple.

IBM’s objection to Johnson leaving to work for Dell relate to his knowledge of, and experience in executing, IBM’s acquisition strategy.

IBM seeks to have Johnson barred from working for Dell, citing a non-compete agreement he signed in 2005.

In papers filed with the US District Court for Southern New York, IBM states: “Among the highly sensitive information Mr Johnson possesses is, for example, information regarding where and in what companies and technologies IBM will invest, at what times, at what rates of return, as well as information regarding potential divestitures”.

Johnson’s intended departure to Dell is causing speculation that Dell, which has not been a major player in the tech M&A space, may be planning to change its strategy and embark on more acquisitions.

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