Motorola Calls Former CFO 'Treacherous Officer'

Fri, 04/10/2009 - 9:17am
The Associated Press

CHICAGO (AP) — A former executive who sued Motorola for firing him is a "treacherous officer," the company said in court documents responding to his lawsuit.

Former CFO Paul Liska was fired for "serious misconduct and incompetence" and he planned a "scheme designed to portray himself as a whistleblower and demand millions in return for his silence," Motorola said in documents obtained by the Chicago Tribune and posted Thursday on its Web site.

Liska sued Schaumburg, Illinois-based Motorola in Cook County Circuit Court in Chicago on Feb. 20, a day after he was fired. He claims his dismissal was a "retaliatory discharge," which usually refers to an employee being fired for being a whistleblower.

Liska's attorney, Scott B. Crotty, did not immediately return a call seeking comment.

Motorola declined to release the court documents to The Associated Press on Thursday and declined to comment beyond the filings. Liska was terminated "for cause," according to a regulatory filing that Motorola issued on March 3.

Cook County officials would not release Motorola's court filings to the AP.

Liska claims he was praised consistently for his work and has said Motorola was trying to "destroy his reputation in retaliation for raising legitimate concerns" about Motorola's mobile phone unit.

Liska did not receive his signing bonus, stock options or severance pay.

In February, North America's largest maker of telecom equipment posted a massive fourth-quarter loss as it recorded charges to reflect the shrinking value of its mobile phone business. It also suspended its dividend, said Liska had left and gave a disappointing forecast for the fiscal first quarter.

Faced with plunging mobile phone revenue, the company had hatched a plan last year to spin off its Mobile Devices business, but persistent losses caused it to postpone that move.

When it reported fourth-quarter earnings back in February, Motorola gave no specific reason for Liska's departure, but co-CEO Greg Brown implied that it was connected to the delay of the phone spin-off. He said at the time that changes in the "business environment" made a change at the CFO post appropriate as well.

Motorola is now the No. 5 mobile phone maker worldwide, with a 6.5 percent share.

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•  Analysis: U.S. Cellular Signals Its Digging in Heels Despite Long Odds
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•  FirstNews Briefs for April 10, 2009



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