Mars and JAB Holding are reportedly set for a legal battle after the Snickers giant filed a suit against the Pret A Manger and Panera Bread owner over claims an executive stole thousands of company documents.
The alleged theft is said to include material on financial figures, strategy and M&A targets, according to a lawsuit filed in Washington D.C., The Financial Times has reported.
Mars claims Jacek Szarzynski, who left the US food giant for JAB last year, shared more than 6,000 documents with his new company.
“Szarzynski’s downloading was massive and included a broad range of confidential and proprietary Mars documents about multiple global business sectors,” Mars has claimed, according to the FT.
JAB, which, like Mars, has a presence in the pet-care sector, has denied the allegations.
“The lawsuit is completely without legal merit. JAB has already extensively investigated the allegations through its outside counsel, Debevoise & Plimpton, and concluded that neither JAB nor Pret Panera has used or benefited in any way from any Mars information.”
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JAB added: “We look forward to aggressively defending our conduct and proving our position in court.”
Szarzynski’s move to JAB was announced by the Luxembourg-based group in January 2019. During more than two decades at Mars, Szarzynski worked across the group’s pet care, food and beverage businesses. His most recent role, spanning March 2016 to February 2019, was as global CFO of Mars pet-care business.