VMware sues Nutanix CEO

Nutanix calls legal claim an “unfounded attempt to hurt a competitor”
Rajiv Ramaswami (Nutanix)

Rajiv Ramaswami (Nutanix)

VMware has filed a lawsuit against its former chief operating officer Rajiv Ramaswami following his ascent to Nutanix's leadership.

The lawsuit, filed in the Superior Court of the State of California, County of Santa Clara, accuses Ramaswami of material and ongoing breaches of contractual duties and obligations. 

In a statement, the virtualisation giant claimed Ramaswami “failed to honour his fiduciary and contractual obligations to VMware”. It also asserts that the former COO joined Nutanix as its CEO only two days after leaving VMware back in December. 

“For at least two months before resigning from the company, at the same time he was working with senior leadership to shape VMware’s key strategic vision and direction, Mr. Ramaswami also was secretly meeting with at least the CEO, CFO, and apparently the entire Board of Directors of Nutanix, Inc. to become Nutanix’s chief executive officer,” VMware claims.

VMware added that Ramaswami should have disclosed this conflict of interest to VMware so that the company could have “taken steps to protect itself”. 

However, Nutanix has hit back with its own statement claiming “VMware’s lawsuit seeks to make interviewing for a new job wrongful”. 

“Nutanix and Mr. Ramaswami assured VMware that Mr. Ramaswami agreed with his obligation not to take or misuse confidential information, and VMware does not contend otherwise,” Nutanix claimed. 

“However, VMware requested that Mr. Ramaswami agree to limit the ordinary performance of his job duties in a manner that would equate to an illegal non-compete covenant, and it requested that Nutanix agree not to hire candidates from VMware in a manner that Nutanix believes would be contrary to the federal antitrust laws.” 

VMware also added that it is “not a litigious company by nature” and had tried to resolve this matter without litigation.

“But Mr. Ramaswami and Nutanix refused to engage with VMware in a satisfactory manner,” the vendor said.