Bank boss fails in damages bid

WILLIAM MACE
Last updated 10:31 17/10/2012

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A former New Zealand chief executive of investment bank JP Morgan Chase has failed in attempt to extract damages from the company.

In late 2010 Robert Lewis filed proceedings with the Employment Relations Authority alleging his former employer had breached a settlement agreement by "refusing to confirm" his role as CEO of the bank's New Zealand operation.

According to Lewis' LinkedIn profile he worked for JP Morgan Chase to help set up its New Zealand business between April 2008 and March 2010.

The CEO of a bank is legally deemed by the Reserve Bank of New Zealand to be "a fit and proper person to hold that role" and therefore the title held particular significance for Lewis.

But in a just-released decision the ERA says Lewis has given no evidence to show any settlement agreement has been breached.

The ERA says Lewis' exit from the company was heralded by an agreed statement which expressly described him as the chief executive officer of the JP Morgan Chase Bank.

"That being the position, it is difficult to see how Mr Lewis can succeed in his contention that he is being represented in the marketplace in an inaccurate fashion'.

"Indeed, on the basis of the settlement agreement itself, the reverse would appear to be true."

Even if it had been persuaded there was a breach, the ERA said it was not able to make an order for monetary damages.

Lewis has since worked for PWC and is currently head of working capital solutions at BNZ Partners.

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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