Engineering giant Dyson sues former chief executive Max Conze

Engineering giant Dyson is suing its former chief executive Max Conze over allegations that he disclosed secret company information and used the firm's resources to his benefit.

The business founded by billionaire inventor Sir James Dyson has brought a High Court claim against Mr Conze after he stepped down in October.

The Press Association understands the ex-CEO was dismissed by the board of directors for allegedly breaking the company's confidentiality rules by revealing secret product information to third parties.

His departure is also believed to be linked to allegations that he breached his duties by using company resources and information to evaluate an investment opportunity for the benefit of himself or a venture capital firm.

Mr Conze has denied the allegations and said Dyson is trying to distract attention away from claims he is about to issue against the company.

In a statement, Dyson said: "The Dyson Board has decided to bring a claim against Max Conze at the High Court of Justice in London in relation to his actions while chief executive including the disclosure of confidential information, and a breach of his fiduciary duties."

In a claim form seen by PA, Dyson is suing the former boss for damages for alleged breach of contract and for compensation and/or an account of profits for his alleged breach of confidence.

Mr Conze worked for the vacuum and hairdryer maker for six years before being replaced last month by chief operating officer Jim Rowan.

Responding to the allegations, Mr Conze said: "I did nothing of the sort.

"During my six years as CEO of Dyson the sales and profits will have tripled, with the company growing from 2,500 to 10,000 staff.

"When I arrived from Frankfurt in 2010 Dyson sold around five million machines, in 2016 it sold 13 million and that momentum is continuing.

"This couldn't have happened without my total commitment to the business and its people.

"This ridiculous allegation is merely trying to distract attention from the claims that Dyson know I am about to issue.

"I am sorry for the unnecessary distraction all this will inevitably cause the skilled and effective team at Dyson."

It comes after Dyson revealed in September that it was pushing into the automotive industry by driving £2 billion of investment into developing an electric vehicle.