Chief executive Kissane ‘takes a stand’ against alleged poaching

Kerry London is involved in a fierce legal battle with rival broker Miles Smith and former employees, including ex-sales and marketing director Paul Samways.

Construction specialist Kerry London has also assured staff that speculation over its future is unfounded.

In October, the broker issued injunctions against Samways, former divisional director Grant Irwin and ex-administrator Margaret Chandler, and their new employer Miles Smith.

The case is believed to centre on confidential information relating to Kerry London’s clients, which it alleges was taken from the business. There are also allegations relating to soliciting of Kerry London clients and staff.

The injunction ordered Samways, Irwin, Chandler and Miles Smith to return any documents or information belonging to Kerry London. Miles Smith was due to issue its response last week and the case is set to go to trial in February 2010.

In a leaked internal document seen by Insurance Times, Kerry London chief executive Damian Kissane told staff that the business was performing well, and hit back at market speculation.

He said: “In the last week, a number of you have come to me and told me of rumours in the market that Kerry London is in trouble. This is NOT true.

“Kerry London and especially Trade Direct are having a much improved year as a direct result of your efforts and our restructuring. We are particularly positive about the business for 2010. This is down to all of you and the efforts made to stay focused on winning new, and holding onto existing, business during a difficult trading period.”

He added: “The message that you need to give back to the market is this: we will do everything required to protect our business and our staff, we are committed to growing and we plan to be here in 2010 and for a great many years after that.”

On the pending legal action, Kissane explained in the same message: “We know that this happens in the insurance market, but this time we decided to take a stand. We did this because we believe in Kerry London, we believe in the future of Kerry London and what we are all trying to achieve together. We also want to protect your jobs and your families.”

Samways became managing director of Miles Smith’s retail division in May and was followed by Irwin and Chandler to the Lloyd’s broker. Samways originally sold his leisure and property specialist business APN Insurance Services to Kerry London in 2002 and was appointed to the main board.

His departure followed a strategic review of the business by Kissane, which resulted in a number of job cuts. Both Kerry London and Miles Smith refused to comment.