Amazon.com Inc. is suing the former logistics executive who left the online retailer three weeks ago to run Target Corp.'s supply chain, alleging he is violating the terms of a noncompete agreement by revealing Amazon's trade secrets, according to published reports.
Arthur Valdez worked for 16 years at the Seattle e-commerce giant before jumping ship in March to become Target's new executive vice president, chief supply chain and logistics officer.
Valdez had held a similar role at Amazon, holding the title of vice president of operations, charged with running the company's international supply chain expansion. In previous assignments at Amazon, he had run the firm's global and domestic supply chains, which included transportation, fulfillment, and logistics.
In the lawsuit, filed in King County Superior Court in Washington state, Amazon said Valdez is still bound by a 2012 noncompete agreement requiring him to take an 18-month hiatus before taking a position with similar responsibilities at a rival firm. The Amazon suit was first reported by MarketWatch, a business and financial website.
Amazon is worried that Valdez is revealing trade secrets, such as an analysis of its holiday operations. The lawsuit asserts that Valdez' new job will involve "the disclosure and use of Amazon's confidential and proprietary information to Amazon's detriment and Target's advantage," the MarketWatch story says.
Target denied any impropriety. "We have taken significant precautions to ensure that any proprietary information remains confidential and we believe this suit is without merit," Target spokeswoman Molly Snyder said in an e-mail. Snyder declined further comment, citing pending litigation.
Hiring away Valdez was a coup for Minneapolis-based Target, which is pushing an ongoing effort to transform its supply chain, overseeing the planning, distribution, and transportation operations for the chain's 1,800 stores as well as its website.
Target CEO Brian Cornell has shaken up the company's logistics leadership since taking over the top job in 2014. Cornell has pledged to cut costs through corporate downsizing and invest the savings in IT and supply chain technologies as part of a revamp of the company's omnichannel fulfillment capabilities.