CHICAGO (AdAge.com) -- Former Relay Worldwide Chairman-CEO Wally Hayward is suing his former employer, a unit of Publicis' Starcom Mediavest Group, over an alleged breach of contract.
In a lawsuit filed in Cook County Circuit Court July 7, Mr. Hayward alleged that he is owed more than $650,000 in benefits, severance pay and bonuses because he was "constructively discharged" after he informed the company last September that he intended to resign in March.
According to the complaint, Publicis at first approved his six-month notice period, but then promptly replaced him as CEO and told him not to report to work. He remained on the payroll until March. But, according to the lawsuit, "the removal of all his duties and responsibilities constituted a 'material diminution' of Hayward's duties and responsibilities [and] ... prevented Hayward from having a meaningful impact on Relay's progress and profits ... thus materially reducing Hayward's bonus opportunities."
Mr. Hayward's 2008 base salary was $400,000. He received a $325,850 bonus early in 2008, for work done in 2007.
The complaint contends that the manner in which Mr. Hayward was stripped of his CEO responsibilities constitutes a "constructive discharge," which would trigger certain payments under his employment agreement. According to the complaint, Publicis disagrees with that interpretation.
Both Mr. Hayward and a Starcom spokeswoman declined to comment.
Since leaving Relay, Mr. Hayward has been active within Chicago's bid to host the 2016 Summer Olympics.