Nortel Networks Corp. has agreed to pay $11.5 million as part of a lawsuit settlement with Motorola Inc. over the network vendor's hiring of Mike Zafirovski, formerly Motorola's president and chief operating officer.
Motorola, in Schaumburg, Illinois, launched the lawsuit earlier this month, just days after Nortel announced that it had picked Zafirovski to be its new chief executive officer (CEO). Citing non-compete agreements, Motorola sought to prevent Zafirovski from working at Nortel for two years and to block him from hiring Motorola employees at his new company.
Under the terms of the settlement, announced Monday, Zafirovski and Nortel have agreed not to recruit Motorola employees and to limit Zafirovski's communications with certain unnamed companies, some of which are Motorola customers. The settlement also limits Zafirovski's ability to advise Nortel "on competitive strategy or analysis relative to Motorola," Nortel said in a statement.
Zafirovski must also repay his former employer $11.5 million in separation money. Nortel, in Brampton, Ontario, said it will reimburse its new CEO for this payment.
The settlement clears the way for Zafirovski to succeed Nortel President and CEO Bill Owens, a transition that is scheduled to occur Nov. 15. He will be taking over a company that has been rocked by a downturn in the telecommunications equipment market and a financial scandal that led to the firing of a number of Nortel's top executives, including former CEO Frank Dunn.
Motorola sues Zafirovski over Nortel job, Oct. 19, 2005
Nortel taps Mike Zafirovski as new CEO, president, Computerworld (US online), Oct. 17, 2005