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Print 33 comment(s) - last by robinthakur.. on Mar 28 at 7:30 AM

He tried to leave ahead of time despite his contract

Poaching is a common practice in the tech sector, where one company will recognize the talent of an employee at another and attempt to make that person a better offer. This recently happened when a tech executive tried leaving the withered and dying field of BlackBerry bushes in Waterloo, Ontario in favor of the healthy and prospering Apple orchard in Cupertino. But it's not clear if the poach attempt will ever be successful after a recent court ruling.

According to iMore, Apple tried to poach BlackBerry SVP of Software Sebastien Marineau-Mes, but Marineau-Mes' contract with BlackBerry got in the way. 

Marineau-Mes started talking about leaving Apple back in September 2013, and after formally being offered the position of Vice President of Core OS in December, Marineau-Mes accepted and signed a contract with Apple. 

He put in his resignation with BlackBerry on December 23 with a two-month notice, but there was one major problem: Marineau-Mes' contract said he had to give six-months notice if he were to resign.

Marineau-Mes signed the contract for a promotion to BlackBerry EVP of Platform Development on September 27, 2013 -- around the same time he was in talks with Apple. 

As a result, BlackBerry took Marineau-Mes to court over the matter.


Sebastien Marineau-Mes [SOURCE: Apple Insider]

The ruling was just handed down from the Ontario Superior Court of Justice, which decided that Marineau-Mes must fulfill a full six-month resignation before he can leave BlackBerry -- meaning he wouldn't be able to go to Apple until June 2014. 

This likely hurts for Marineau-Mes, but probably more so for BlackBerry. The Canadian company had Marineau-Mes sign that September contract as a promotion during a time when the company was in a promotional freeze (meaning promotions were put on hold, unless it was for someone they really wanted to hold onto).

"BlackBerry will not stand by while a former employee violates his employment contract," said BlackBerry. "It is unfortunate that we had to take this step, but we will do whatever is necessary to ensure that employees honor the agreements they make with us. When we enter into an agreement with an employee, as we have with Mr. Marineau, we expect him to honor his commitment just as he would expect that we will honor ours. We are pleased that the court has endorsed our position and ruled that the employee contract and its terms are valid."

It's unclear if Apple will wait until June for Marineau-Mes.

Apple and BlackBerry aren't the only poachers in the tech realm. In December 2013, one of Microsoft's top executives in charge of graphics -- Blaise Agüera y Arcas -- left Microsoft for Google's machine learning group.

Source: iMore



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RE: Good
By Belegost on 3/26/2014 2:36:35 PM , Rating: 5
Pragmatically it's pointless, they now have a lame duck EVP, everyone below him know's he's jumped ship so any decisions he makes are going to be suspect and his authority is undermined. There will be constant suspicion that his actions are directly hostile to the company, that he's making decisions based on the good of his future employer and not BB.

Further he has no motivation to be proactive and engage his work with real effort, he's just serving a sentence, and needs only do the bare minimum to not be violating the court order. And due to the damaged position he is in at the office, it's his best solution really because any real work he might try to do will be impeded and ineffective.

Overall this is a pyrrhic victory for BB - sure they got the contract upheld, but it adds no real value to the company, they would have done better using the 2 months to identify a replacement, and sue him for monetary damages on the breach of contract (if Canadian law allows for such damages) I find this surprising from the new CEO, he's always seemed like someone with a more realistic mindset.


RE: Good
By hughlle on 3/26/2014 3:17:16 PM , Rating: 4
Except for the fact that he now has 6 months to prove just why apple really want him. If he takes the attitude of **** it, and this reflects in his work, then that apple job might not be available when he's ready, or any job for that matter.

It rather works both ways. It would be rather silly for him to noew give 6 months of not giving a ****, as that will be very detrimental to his future employment. He's already dented that one by showing just how loyal an employee he is. Right now he is n damage control, and not doing his job properly is not going to help one bit.


RE: Good
By bah12 on 3/27/2014 9:33:11 AM , Rating: 2
Except if Apple really did poach him, then they don't give a crap about his loyalty since it obvious he can be bought. And if he had a brain cell one, he already disclosed the potential contract issue to Apple.

Bottom line in the tech field, if you want to keep your good people pay them well so jumping ship isn't an option. Or in BB's case run a good company so every VP and above doesn't read the writing on the wall and jump ship early. Face it any manager that is privy to the monthly P&L's should be looking for options, BB future is grim at best and if you expect people to go down with the ship you'd be delusional.


RE: Good
By robinthakur on 3/28/2014 7:30:31 AM , Rating: 2
I tend to think that this simply serves to underscore that so many executives are leaving Blackberry at this time (though I still come across the odd contract job they are trying to fill) for a very good reason. From Blackberrys perspective, they want to retain their top staff and therefore this move is probably more to do with sending a message to other key staff that they will hold you to the terms of your employment regarding notice period, should you want to leave for other potential ship-jumpers. There are many subtle ways to damage a company that you don't enjoy working for, though with Blackberry's brand having fallen into the gutter, his options are limited. Maybe he could just turn up to work every day and block all the toilets with paper towels :)


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