The headline might sound a bit absurd, but it is 100 percent true. Mike Fenger, former Motorola SVP of mobile devices for Europe, Middle East, and Africa, left the company back in March. Later in the month, he was Apple’s head of global iPhone sales. What’s wrong with this? Apparently, Motorola bought Fenger’s loyalty with “millions of dollars in cash, restricted stock units, and stock options.” By accepting these perks, Fenger agreed not to work for a competitor in the two years following his exit from the company. This allegedly violates his non-compete agreement.
Non-Compete agreements are not at all uncommon, especially when proprietary information is involved. Companies don’t want employees and execs working with this data and then running off to a competitor, where their knowledge is premium. This doesn’t even necessarily entail the former employee taking documents. All Motorola cares about, at least in his case, is what’s in Fener’s head.
“He cannot perform his duties for Apple without inevitably disclosing Motorola’s trade secrets,” said the lawsuit, which is seeking to put a stop to Fenger’s career at Apple until March 2010.
Given the information presented, it would appear as though Motorola has a clear-cut case. However, we’re assuming Fenger’s not a dumb guy, and has his own reasons for breaking the non-compete agreement. Motorola might have some other battles to fight on that end, too, as a number of their former execs have been popping up at rival companies.