Dyson drama as engineering giant sues former chief executive

Emma Haslett
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Dyson and Jen Atkin Personal Appearance event at The Grove
Conze had led the company since 2011 (Source: Fortune / Flickr)

Dyson became embroiled in a legal row with its former chief executive today, after it filed papers with the High court alleging he had leaked confidential information to third parties.

It is understood Max Conze, who stepped down suddenly in October after six years as chief executive, is accused of leaking company secrets, using company resources to research investment opportunities for himself and third party venture capital firms, and failing to follow "lawful and reasonable" instructions regarding his conduct and focus of attention.

However Conze, who was replaced by operations chief Jim Rowan, hit back. "I did nothing of the sort," he said.

"During my six years as CEO of Dyson the sales and profits will have tripled with the company growing from 2,500 to 10,000 staff.

"When I arrived from Frankfurt in 2010 Dyson sold around 5m machines, in 2016 it sold 13m and that momentum is continuing. This couldn't have happened without my total commitment to the business and its people. This ridiculous allegation is merely trying to distract attention from the claims that Dyson know I am about to issue.

"I am sorry for the unnecessary distraction all this will inevitably cause the skilled and effective team at Dyson."

Meanwhile, a Dyson spokesman said: “The Dyson Board has decided to bring a claim against Max Conze at the High Court of Justice in London in relation to his actions while chief executive including the disclosure of confidential information, and a breach of his fiduciary duties."

Electric car plans

‚ÄčIn September the notoriously secretive company confirmed rumours it is working on an electric car, with plans to launch it by 2020. This weekend Sir James Dyson, the company's founder, added the car will have "some driverless in it", and will be completely self-made.

Read more: Dyson's electric car will have driverless elements

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