McKinsey Accuses Former Senior Partner of Stealing Trade Secrets

Nov. 13, 2019, 2:45 PM

A former senior partner and shareholder of McKinsey & Co. misappropriated the company’s trade secrets when he left to work for its competitor Accenture, the management consulting firm claims in a new federal lawsuit in the District of New Jersey.

Parker Shi worked in McKinsey Digital, a practice group that advises clients on the application of technology and advanced analytics, according to the complaint. He worked on key industry sectors including insurance, consumer products, and pharmaceutical and medical products. His position “afforded him access to a veritable treasure trove of materials containing confidential and proprietary information,” McKinsey said.

Accenture hired Shi to lead its North America Information Technology strategy practice, handling similar consulting work to what he did at McKinsey. Shi also sued McKinsey in New Jersey state court, claiming the company owed him almost $1 million.

The discovery process in Shi’s trial revealed that in his final weeks of employment at McKinsey, he had downloaded and e-mailed to himself numerous confidential firm and client documents without authorization or a valid business reason, the company said. These documents allegedly included confidential information about project management software, research on a technology company’s moves into the financial services industry, and work for a potential new client in the banking industry.

“Shi’s purpose was to take McKinsey intellectual property and client information which he could then use in developing his practice at Accenture to compete with McKinsey,” it claimed.

Causes of Action: Defend Trade Secrets Act of 2016, New Jersey Trade Secrets Act, Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, breach of fiduciary duty.

Relief: Unspecified damages and injunctive relief barring Shi from using the allegedly misappropriated information.

Attorneys: McKinsey is represented by Murphy Orlando LLC.

The case is McKinsey & Co., Inc. v. United States, D.N.J., No. 3:19-cv-20098, filed 11/12/19.

To contact the reporter on this story: Brian Flood in Washington at bflood@bloomberglaw.com

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Rob Tricchinelli at rtricchinelli@bloombergenvironment.com; Nicholas Datlowe at ndatlowe@bloomberglaw.com

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