CIBC Sues Six Former Employees

6 Jan ’05

In what will almost certainly be the biggest case of its kind in Canada for a while, CIBC is suing a group of former senior employees who left the bank to establish their own brokerage firm, Genuity.  The suit alleges they took confidential information and masterminded a
“secretive, well-orchestrated and calculated scheme” to recruit
colleagues and launch the rival brokerage while they were still working
for the bank.

Among other things, the claim relies on a series of emails, recovered off of PCs and Blackberries, that seem to point to misconduct.  It’s just day 1 fireworks of course, but there’s no doubt that the more salacious of the allegations will, rightly or wrongly, capture a lot of media attention over the next few days.

The essence of the claim appears to be a garden variety scheme to take trade secrets, presumably client lists, and solicit talent for the new shop in breach of non-solicitation agreements, but is also presumably being fuelled by animus between the CEO of CIBC, who is the fomer boss of David Kassie, the head of Genuity after he was ousted from CIBC after a management shake-up early in 2004, and the fact that CIBC has seen an exodus of talent for several months now.

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