David Handler, a veteran banker who built Centerview Partners’ technology consulting business, has filed a lawsuit against his former employer to obtain data that would help determine how much he should have earned.
The lawsuit, filed this week in the Delaware Court of Chancery, came after Handler launched his own technology-focused mergers and acquisitions consultancy in Silicon Valley.
Handler wants access to Centerview’s books and records, including the company’s financial statements from 2008 to 2022, so that he can determine his fair compensation under the lawsuit.
Centerview co-founders Blair Effron and Robert Pruzan offered Handler an “oral” agreement in 2012 that changed how much he had as a partner, according to Handler’s lawsuit. According to the complaint, Handler had received the terms of employment in writing when he joined Centerview in 2008.
He began requesting financial information about Centerview earlier this year after Effron and Pruzan asked him to propose a new settlement to replace their verbal agreement, in an effort to “force Handler out,” the complaint said.
Handler sued Centerview after it denied its partnership status and refused to hand over the information it sought, the complaint said.
“We respectfully disagree that David Handler has any right to the books and documents he demands, and we will defend our position,” a Centerview spokesperson said in a statement.
A spokesperson for Handler declined to comment.
Handler joined Centerview from UBS Group AG in 2008 and led his technology investment banking practice on the West Coast, advising prominent clients including Cisco Systems Inc and Qualcomm Inc.
Earlier this week, Handler, along with his former colleague at Centerview, David Neequaye, launched a new M&A consulting firm, Tidal Partners, based in Palo Alto, California.