NEW YORK — Amazon.com has sued its seasoned logistics executive nearly a month after he was hired by Target, saying he’s violated a non-compete clause that prohibits him from joining a rival for at least 18 months.
The suit filed by Amazon this week in King County Superior Court in Washington claims that Arthur Valdez, hired as Target’s new chief supply chain and logistics officer, has already shared trade secrets during the interview process. And Amazon says Valdez would be required to disclose Amazon’s confidential information in his position at Target. Valdez’s duties will include overseeing planning, distribution and transportation.
Valdez, a 16-year-veteran at Amazon.com, was most recently vice president of operations, which handled Amazon.com’s international supply chain expansion.
“Mr. Valdez’s new position with a key Amazon competitor will involve the disclosure and use of Amazon’s confidential and proprietary information to Amazon’s detriment and Target’s advantage in a core area of competition between the companies: the cost-effective and rapid movement of goods in the most efficient way possible for retail customers,” Amazon said in the suit.
The non-compete clause was signed by Valdez in 2012, according to the suit.
Valdez is expected to start his new job next week.
“We have taken significant precautions to ensure that any proprietary information remains confidential and we believe this suit is without merit, ” said Target spokeswoman Molly Snyder in an email to The Associated Press Wednesday. “However, as this is pending litigation, we are not going to comment further at this time.”
Amazon.com’s spokeswoman Kelly Cheeseman declined to comment.
Target is pushing to close the gap between its e-commerce and store operations. It’s been a big challenge for Target and other major retailers as consumers increasingly shop online.