P&G to sue chief over move to rival

Household giant takes court action to block former chief from taking up top role at rival company

Procter & Gamble is about to sue one of its former top executives to prevent him working in one of the biggest international jobs at rival cosmetics giant Alberto-Culver.

The lawsuit against Paul Stoneham, the former managing director of P&G Germany for haircare, who quit to become president of Alberto-Culver International, will start in the next couple of weeks in Ohio, the home state of P&G’s world wide headquarters in Cincinnati.

P&G says Stoneham signed a three-year agreement not to work for a rival. It says Alberto-Culver is a direct competitor in skincare and haircare with brands such as VO-5 and that Stoneham knows P&G’s trade secrets and future strategy about brands such as Pantene, Head & Shoulders and Vidal Sassoon.

Some of P&G’s most senior executives are on the witness list. They include chief executive Durk Jager; former chief executive Ed Artzt; Tim Penner, former general manager Germany and now general manager Canada; John O’Keeffe, retiring president of global haircare; and Bernard Castaing, regional vice-president for haircare Europe.

Stoneham, a Canadian, may also give evidence in the case at the Hamilton County Common Pleas Court in Ohio.

The case was due to begin on Mon-day but one of the lawyers was de layed due to ill health in the family.

A P&G spokesman says: “We very much feel we have a responsibility to our employees and our shareholders to protect our intellectual assets.”

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