Procter & Gamble is to appeal after a judge dismissed its attempt to stop a former executive working for rival Alberto-Culver.
In an embarrassing and potentially expensive setback, P&G failed to bring an injunction to block Paul Stoneham, former managing director for P&G Germany for haircare, becoming president of Alberto-Culver International.
The case was heard in Cincinnati, Ohio, the home of P&G’s worldwide headquarters.
P&G cited a stock-option plan that forbids executives taking a job involving a competing product for three years.
Judge George Elliott said: “There’s been no evidence presented of any harm to P&G resulting or likely to result from the defendant’s departure.” He added that P&G’s non-compete agreement “is used as a measure to retain valued employees” rather than to protect trade secrets.
In a statement P&G says: “P&G had no choice but to bring this lawsuit, and the company expects to win on appeal.”
Stoneham argues his ex-employer never faced a significant threat from Alberto-Culver in Europe. “I have always kept P&G’s information in confidence and will continue to do so,” he says.