IBM Sues Ex-Top Exec to Return $470k Bonus Over Working at Rival

IBM Sues Ex-Top Exec to Return $470k Bonus Over Working at Rival

  • IBM wants its former top executive in Thailand to return $470,000 in bonuses after taking a job with a rival.
  • IBM said Patama Chantaruck violated a stock award plan when she started working at Accenture.
  • The tech company said Chantaruck refused to refund the amount “without justification.”

IBM wants its former Thai executive to return $470,000 in bonuses after she started working at rival Accenture just six weeks after leaving the company.

In a lawsuit filed in New York on Monday, which Insider reviewed, IBM said Patama Chantaruck started working at IBM Thailand as the country’s general manager in 2018. That made her “the top executive from IBM in Thailand,” the company said.

During his employment, Chantaruck received a number of stock awards from IBM as part of an agreement to protect IBM’s confidential information and “not to engage in certain prohibited competitive behaviors in a timely manner.” specific,” the company wrote in the lawsuit.

IBM said under the plan it was entitled to rescind stock awards if Chantaruck engaged in “harmful activity,” which it said included accepting employment with competitors in a limited time.

Insider contacted IBM for clarification on how long this period would last, but did not immediately respond.

Chantaruck resigned from IBM Thailand, effective Feb. 28, 2022, the lawsuit says. Less than six weeks later, on April 11, she started working at Accenture in what IBM says is a “very similar” role to what she did at IBM Thailand.

At Chantaruck LinkedIn, she lists her job title as Country Managing Director at Accenture Thailand. The dates of employment listed on his profile match what IBM says in the lawsuit.

IBM claimed in the lawsuit that it was reversing and rescinding the stock awards and demanded repayment of $470,220.96 by Nov. 1, which it later extended to Jan. 9, but Chantaruck has, “without justification, refused and omitted” to reimburse the amount.

IBM sued Chantaruck for breach of contract and asked the court to order him to repay the bonuses plus interest, along with IBM’s attorneys’ fees and costs.

Chantaruck, who had previously spent more than 20 years working at Microsoft, was listed as one of Bangkok Post’s 24 Women of the Year in 2021.

Chantaruck did not immediately respond to Insider’s LinkedIn request for comment. Bloomberg first reported on the trial.

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