Updated below with IBM comment.
IBM has settled a lawsuit with one of its longtime human resources executives who jumped ship to become Microsoft’s new chief diversity officer, according to a court filing Monday.
The settlement between IBM and Lindsay-Rae McIntyre was reached on Feb. 25, according to the filing in U.S. District Court in New York. Terms of the settlement weren’t disclosed, but Microsoft said in a statement this afternoon that McIntyre will be officially starting in her new position this summer.
“We’re pleased this matter is resolved and we’re thrilled that Lindsay-Rae McIntyre will be joining Microsoft as our Chief Diversity Officer,” a Microsoft representative said. “She’ll take up her new role in July 2018.”
A judge in the case had issued a temporary restraining order preventing McIntyre from working at Microsoft pending a preliminary injunction hearing that was slated to take place next week.
“We’re pleased the court granted IBM’s motion for a temporary restraining order, protecting IBM’s confidential information and diversity strategies,” an IBM spokesperson said. “We’re glad the action has been resolved to the satisfaction of all parties and that Ms. McIntyre will not begin her new responsibilities until July.”
That timing would suggest that IBM and McIntyre essentially split the difference. IBM alleged that her new position as Microsoft’s chief diversity officer would violate a year-long non-compete agreement, letting the Redmond company use IBM’s internal secrets to boost its own diversity efforts. Microsoft said in an earlier statement that it had “no interest in any of IBM’s confidential information.”
Although non-compete agreements are prevalent in the tech industry, and disputes over them aren’t out of the ordinary, some experts in human resources law told GeekWire that it was unusual for a company to enforce non-compete deals over a role that wasn’t tied to a core product or business.
The Puget Sound Business Journal was first to report news of the settlement today.