Starbucks

Pondering the Poach

During boon times, management energy is rarely spent worrying about violations of top-level employment agreements when hiring new executives. But when a downturn comes, companies are watching their backs.

Consider Starbucks Corp.’s well-publicized lawsuit against a former division head for breaching a noncompetition agreement to join rival coffee chain Dunkin’ Brands Inc. The ex-Starbucks executive, Paul Twohig, agreed to settle out of court, paying his former employer $500,000 and subsequently delaying his start date, Starbucks disclosed.

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