05.18.2016

TradingScreen CEO Buhannic Accused of Assaulting Employee – (by Annie Massa, Bloomberg )

BLOOMBERG –Philippe Buhannic, chief executive officer of TradingScreen Inc., was suspended after being accused of assaulting an employee, touching off a battle for control of the financial-software firm, according to court filings and a hearing transcript.

TradingScreen directors put Buhannic on a six-month paid leave earlier this month after an internal probe found “clear and convincing evidence” that Buhannic “physically assaulted” a worker in the company’s New York headquarters, according to a transcript of a state-court hearing in Delaware.

“The company is facing a six-figure damage claim by the employee,” Lewis Lazarus, a lawyer for TradingScreen directors, told Delaware Chancery Court Judge Travis Laster at the hearing in Wilmington Tuesday. Directors are asking Laster to affirm their decision to temporarily oust Buhannic, the company’s co-founder. Lazarus said that Buhannic “denied the assault” claims, according to the transcript.

Board members sued earlier this month after Buhannic refused to accept his banishment. He e-mailed employees and challenged the board’s right to suspend him and install Director Pierre Schroeder to run the company in his absence, the court filings show.

Buhannic didn’t immediately return calls and e-mails seeking comment on the assault allegations.

‘Culture of Respect’

The company announced Buhannic’s leave and the creation of an executive committee in a release Wednesday. The committee is made up of three board members, including Schroeder, Piero Grandi and Robert Trudeau, according to the release.

“TradingScreen promotes a culture of respect for all of our employees, customers, vendors and other stakeholders,” Cristina Dolan, a spokeswoman for TradingScreen, said in an e-mailed statement. “The company does not tolerate offensive or disrespectful behavior. With regard to specific allegations, the company has no additional comment.”

Dolan declined to comment on the reason for Buhannic’s temporary ouster. The 59-year-old executive continues to serve as a TradingScreen director, but has been temporarily removed as board chairman, according to court filings.

The case is Pierre Schroeder v. Philippe Buhannic, No. 12328, Delaware Chancery Court (Wilmington).

This story first appeared on Bloomberg

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