Cargill. Jason Kuan. And Trade Secrets.

What would you do if one of your trusted men turns his back on you?

Well, this is what happened to agricultural conglomerate Cargill when its 20-year executive, Jason Kuan apparently stole confidential files before suddenly resigning from his responsibilities of managing the company’s U.S. and Canadian “case-ready” meat businesses. Case-ready meat business is where meat is processed and packaged at plants and then delivered to meat departments of food retailers.

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According to forensic analysis, Kuan was said to have downloaded proprietary files in early July in his Cargill-issued laptop onto an external drive before stepping down from his position August 1 – and transferring to JBS SA, a competitor of Cargill, whereby he would hold a similar position as reported by WSJ.

Now, Cargill is seeking monetary penalties and a court order to block Jason Kuan from disclosing data to JBS.

Obviously, that’s what most companies would do. But then, data could be held and divulged in many ways including in a “shredded” manner where bits and pieces are given at different times and eventually formed and completed – with processes subtly hidden or manipulated. See?

As in most cases, the lesson is always “prevention is better than cure.”

Cargill should have seen it coming. In business, you not only monitor your own but you check out your competition as well. You see that competition has come up with a similar division then understand your people in that division of yours. Are they happy? What else do they want? Employee satisfaction is crucial especially in an industry where competition is stiff.

What’s your take?

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