Belk department store sues former CEO Nir Patel, GameStop

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Belk CEO Nir Patel left abruptly in May, 10 months after being promoted to the top spot at the iconic Charlotte department store after the company went bankrupt.

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Department store Belk this week sued its former CEO Nir Patel, another former executive and GameStop Corp. accusing them of stealing his employees and payroll information, according to North Carolina federal court documents.

Patel stepped down as CEO in May less than a year after taking over as head of the Charlotte-based chain of stores. That same month, he was named chief operating officer of video game chain GameStop Corp.

Since then, Patel has urged some of Belk’s senior employees to resign and come work for GameStop, despite the company’s 12-month agreement with Patel that limits the solicitation, recruitment or hiring of employees. of Belk, the lawsuit says.

GameStop executives, including its CEO Matt Furlong, also encouraged ‘unfair and deceptive marketing practices’, the lawsuit says, by aiding Patel’s recruitment high-ranking Belk employees.

Tim May resigned as senior vice president of supply chain at Belk this month after he was “poached” in June by Patel and GameStop officials, including Furlong, according to the lawsuit. May allegedly stole compensation information from hundreds of Belk employees.

Belk says May sent spreadsheets containing confidential information to her personal emails that included Belk’s annual salary, bonuses and other employee benefits information.

“May undoubtedly intends to use this information to aid Patel and GameStop in their continuing illegal campaign to attack Belk’s upper ranks,” the court documents state.

Along with a request for a jury trial, Belk asked the court to order Patel, GameStop and May to stop sharing confidential employment information and recruiting its employees. The company also asked the court to enjoin GameStop from employing May and to compensate for the damages.

Belk is represented by Jacob Wharton and Patrick Spaugh of Womble Bond Dickinson.

Law360 first reported the lawsuit.

Belk officials referred to the owner’s attorney Sycamore Partners, who declined to comment on Wednesday.

Efforts to reach GameStop officials were unsuccessful on Wednesday. Lawyers for the defendants were not included in the lawsuit.

Nir Patel - Headshot - Resized.jpg
Nir Patel, former CEO of Belk Belk

Belk’s turbulent leadership, bankruptcy

The iconic chain in the South has been in a state of flux since emerging from bankruptcy in February 2020.

Shortly after the department store emerged from bankruptcy, Patel replaced Lisa Harper. He had been employed at Belk in various roles for five years with previous experience as a senior vice president for Kohl’s.

In 2015, New York-based Sycamore Partners acquired the iconic department store chain from the Belk family for $3 billion. Harper was named CEO in 2016 and was the company’s first CEO outside of the Belk family.

After Patel’s departure, Don Hendricks was named interim CEO. He joined Belk six years ago as chief operating officer and was named president in 2020.

Belk has nearly 300 locations in 16 southeastern states. Belk has approximately 17,000 full-time and part-time employees in its stores and distribution center, and approximately 1,200 corporate employees in Charlotte.

This story was originally published August 24, 2022 12:50 p.m.

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Catherine Muccigrosso is a retail journalist for The Charlotte Observer. An award-winning journalist, she has worked for several newspapers and McClatchy for over a decade.