Chutes & Ladders: Motorola sues ex-CFO over Nortel hire

Motorola has filed a lawsuit against former CFO Mike Zafirovsky to block Nortel's appointment of him as CEO. The suit seeks to prevent Zafirovsky from joining Nextel for two years, claiming the hire would result in the disclosure of trade secrets. The company is also seeking to prevent its ex-CFO from hiring any other Motorola employees. The suit claims that Motorola paid Zafirovsky over $30 million in cash, stock and options in exchange for his non-compete agreement, and that he signed non-compete agreements on eight occasions. Zafirovsky is the fourth CEO that Nortel has appointed in as many years. The company continues to struggle financially after an accounting scandal a few years ago.

In the long tradition of non-compete agreements and their alleged violators, Motorola's suit is obviously a fine tailored version of Microsoft's lawsuit against Google over the hiring of Kai-Fu Lee. The clear distinction here is that Motorola sued Zafirovsky, not Nortel. Microsoft has thus far prevented Lee from performing work that would compete with what he did at Microsoft. Such a ruling in this case
would surely put the companies' Venn diagram drawing skills to the test.

For more on the Motorola lawsuit:
- take a look at this piece from MarketWatch

PLUS: Motorola wins telematics contract from GM. Release

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