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IBM Sues Exec Who Jumped To CSC

Big Blue claims former VP David Zolet welched on a $350,000 signing bonus.

Hewlett-Packard and Oracle aren't the only tech heavyweights squabbling over a senior executive. IBM has filed suit against a former VP who last month jumped ship to become president of public sector business development at outsourcing rival CSC, InformationWeek has learned.

In court papers filed Sept. 3rd in U.S. District Court in Maryland, IBM claims David Zolet, formerly Big Blue's VP for public sector systems integration, failed to repay a $350,000 signing bonus after leaving the company in June.

"The offer letter provided that the bonus would not be considered earned by Zolet unless and until he remained employed by IBM for two years," IBM states in its complaint. Zolet, a former Northrop Grumman exec, formally left IBM June 30—about six weeks shy of what would have been a two-year stint.

IBM says its many attempts to recoup the bonus from Zolet have been fruitless. "Since his termination from employment, IBM has demanded orally and in writing that Zolet return the bonus," IBM says.

"Zolet has not returned the bonus and has represented to IBM that he will not do so unless and until IBM satisfies certain conditions that are not required by either the offer letter or the repayment agreement," IBM states.

IBM is asking the court to force Zolet to hand over $350,000, as well as interest and court costs.

CSC announced Zolet's appointment Aug. 3. "Dave brings us an exceptionally strong record of achievement in both new business development and operational management to help us continue growing our government business and reaching our ambitious goals," said CSC North American Public Sector president James Sheaffer, in a statement at the time.

CSC officials did not immediately respond to a call requesting comment on the lawsuit.

The spat echoes Hewlett-Packard's ongoing battle with HP over the future of Mark Hurd. Hurd resigned from HP last month amid allegations of sexual impropriety, and was named a co-president at Oracle earlier this week. HP filed suit, claiming Hurd's confidentiality agreement bars him from working at Oracle.

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