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Supply-Chain Lawsuits Mount Amid Drive for Logistics Talent

As a former Amazon executive joins Target, experts see changing distribution patterns raising the role of supply chains strategies in corporate competition


The Wall Street Journal | March 31, 2016


The Wall Street Journal article, "Supply-Chain Lawsuits Mount Amid Drive for Logistics Talent" quotes Russell Reynolds Associates' Peter L. O'Brien about the lack of supply chain executive leaders and its effects on organizations. The article is excerpted below. 

When  Amazon.com Inc.  sued a former employee this month for jumping to  Target Corp. , the e-commerce giant was joining a growing trend in corporate supply chains: fighting back on executive poaching.

The Amazon lawsuit this month came amid an unusual spate in legal complaints over job-jumping in the logistics and freight transportation logistics world.  XPO Logistics Inc.,  sued trucking rivals  YRC Worldwide Inc.  and R+L Carriers Inc. in February, even as XPO is still defending itself against a poaching lawsuit filed by logistics provider  C.H. Robinson Worldwide Inc.  in 2012.

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“The whole issue of supply chain is moving so fast that…there’s not a great deal of people who, at this point in time, are regarded as the leaders in their fields,” said Peter L. O’Brien, head of the global supply chain practice of executive search firm Russell Reynolds Associates. “They’re worth their weight in gold.”

Companies like Amazon and XPO that are challenging longtime business practices in traditional industries like transportation have become highly protective of their strategies.

“The reality of people moving from one organization to another has been around for decades,” Mr. O’Brien said. But “the talent, knowledge and know-how that the disrupters have is obviously hugely valuable to the companies that are being disrupted,” he said. Meanwhile, XPO and Amazon are getting very nervous, and “are obviously looking for a mechanism to defend themselves.”

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Supply-Chain Lawsuits Mount Amid Drive for Logistics Talent