Euro RSCG Unit Countersues Ex-CEO

NEW YORK Charlie Tarzian, who resigned last month as CEO of Euro RSCG 4D, is being sued by his former shop for allegedly trying to recruit current clients and agency employees to his new venture.

The action was filed on May 9 in State Supreme Court in Manhattan, and Euro RSCG 4D, a unit of Havas-owned Euro RSCG Worldwide, is seeking monetary damages as well as a judgment to prevent Tarzian from soliciting clients or employees for a year.

According to the complaint, Tarzian used Euro RSCG 4D confidential client information in his attempts to recruit current agency accounts and employees to his new firm, Last Mile.

In a statement, Euro RSCG 4D said, “The complaint further alleges that Mr. Tarzian made numerous false and misleading statements to clients and others concerning Euro RSCG 4D’s business in an effort to undermine his former employer and gain an unlawful competitive advantage for his own company.”

The complaint alleges that Tarzian in June 2005 began soliciting Euro RSCG 4D client IBM to move business to Last Mile. Other clients it alleges that he tried to recruit were Computer Associates, Symantec, Lexmark and Thomson Corp.

The agency network acquired Tarzian’s company in 2000, and he became CEO of Euro RSCG 4D in 2001.

The action comes four days after a suit filed by Tarzian—on May 5, also in State Supreme Court in Manhattan against Euro RSCG Holdings—in which he claims that the agency cannot preclude him from offering the software used for Euro RSCG 4D clients at his new company.

It seeks a declaratory judgment on his employment contract, which he claims does not preclude him from “competing with [Euro RSCG], hiring employees of [Euro RSCG], providing services to clients of [Euro RSCG],” and that he and his new company “have the right, after termination of Tarzian’s employment, to use and exploit the software known as Dynamic Marketing Environment and Client Views,” according to the document obtained by Adweek.

“Tarzian understood . . . that [Euro RSCG] intended to move out of the technology/software area by 2007, and the Wilton, Connecticut office, where the software business was headquartered, eventually would be closed,” Tarzian’s complaint states. Because the agency “was phasing out the very business that Tarzian brought to [the company] . . . Tarzian decided to resign . . . and gave notice on or about April 6, 2006,” it continues.

Because he was required to give three months notice, Tarzian’s separation from Euro RSCG 4D is effective July 6, the document says.

Tarzian has 30 days to file a response to Euro’s complaint, and the company has 30 days to respond to his.

Neither Tarzian nor Euro executives would comment further on the matters.

This story updates an item posted earlier today with details about Tarzian’s suit against Euro RSCG.