NEW YORK Interpublic Group has filed a complaint with the American Arbitration Association that accuses former Lowe chairman Frank Lowe of using proprietary information to damage his former agency and its parent company, IPG said today.
The complaint, which seeks monetary damages and an injunction, was filed this week in New York.
Because such claims are arbitrated privately, a copy of the complaint was not available. In a statement, however, IPG said: "Frank Lowe sold his agency to Interpublic in 1990 for tens of millions of dollars and subsequently received many times that amount in financial support and resources to build a global network, recruit and compensate key talent. Our claim states that, in breach of his continuing fiduciary responsibilities, he has chosen to use contacts and proprietary knowledge to damage Lowe and Interpublic."
The statement added, "We will be asking the court for monetary compensation and injunctive action. We also intend to hold any Lowe employee seeking to join Mr. Lowe to their full notice period."
A representative for Frank Lowe declined comment, explaining, "We have no knowledge of this action apart from what we've seen on the newswires."
Lowe was dismissed in September 2003, and a two-year non-compete clause in his contract expired last year. He continues, however, to collect a pension from IPG and the terms of the pension that is said to include a prohibition against soliciting Lowe clients and employees. IPG declined comment, and Lowe could not immediately be reached.
The move comes as Lowe London executive creative director Ed Morris considers an offer from Frank Lowe to join his new agency in London, which is opening with the $80 million Tesco account. The account is shifting March 1 from Lowe. Three Lowe executives already have resigned to join the agency—chairman Paul Weinberger and the senior creative team of Sam Cartmell and Jason Lawes.
The new agency also is wooing DDB London chief strategic officer David Hackworthy and JWT in London managing director Mark Cadman. Paul Hammersley last month resigned his CEO post at DDB London to become a partner in the new venture.