According to the Star Tribune in Minneapolis, St. Jude Medical Inc. (NYSE: STJ) filed a lawsuit against a former top executive, accusing the man of violating a non-compete agreement. The company fears the man will share confidential information with rival Medtronic Inc. (NYSE: MDT).
In a complaint filed Monday in Ramsey County District Court, medical device maker St. Jude alleges Joseph McCullough had “complete and unfettered” access to its “most sensitive and confidential” information concerning global operations. As one of two group presidents, McCullough reported directly to St. Jude CEO Dan Starks.
The info in McCullough’s brain concerns St. Jude’s pending entry into the minimally invasive heart valve market.
Of course, swiping a competitor’s talents and secrets is not exactly a new tactic, especially when you have three of the country’s biggest medical device makers practically sharing pajamas in this state.
But only in Minnesota does such banditry explode into the public limelight with such flair and spectacle.
In April, Boston Scientific Corp. (NYSE: BSX) sued St. Jude and Douglas Nock, a former executive, for allegedly breaking Nock’s non-compete. OK, whatever.
But then Boston Scientific CEO Ray Elliot weighed in, telling Wall Street analysts several sales representatives and managers who were “exited” from the company last December for what he called repeated breaches of the company’s ethical code of conduct were quickly hired by St. Jude. They supposedly took roughly $100 million in business with them.
Well, they may be unethical rotten apples, but they were Boston Scientific’s unethical rotten apples.
Corporate banditry is not limited to medical devices. In one of the most notorious (and bizarre) cases in recent memory, Par Ridder, son of newspaper mogul Tony Ridder, resigned as publisher of the Star Tribune after the owner of cross-town rival St. Paul Pioneer Press filed a lawsuit accusing its former publisher of literally walking out its doors with reams of confidential advertising data.
So the next time you encounter a Minnesota executive, make sure to check your pockets (and employee list) afterwards.