RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK – Lindsay-Rae McIntyre, a UNC-Chapel Hill graduate and a Morehead Scholar who earned her MBA at Duke, won’t be taking over as chief diversity officer at Microsoft – at least for the time being.

IBM diversity logo

IBM sued and succeeded Monday in getting a restraining order preventing McIntyre, who led diversity efforts at Big Blue, from joining Microsoft. The next step in the case is set for Feb. 22.

“McIntyre was at the center of highly confidential and competitively sensitive information that has fueled IBM’s success in these areas,” a representative for IBM told Business Insider. “While we understand Microsoft’s need to deal with mounting criticism of its record on diversity, IBM intends to fully enforce Ms. McIntyre’s non-compete agreement to protect our competitive information.”

IBM says she violated a one-year non-competitive agreement. The company said the executive “abruptly resigned to compete against IBM” and possessed highly confidential and sensitive information about IBM’s diversity strategies, hiring targets, technologies and innovations, IBM said in the lawsuit that was filed Monday, according to Reuters.

Her lawyers called IBM’s move “draconian.”

“IBM surprisingly seeks a draconian temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction to prevent McIntyre from working — for an entire year, in any position, anywhere in the world, for any company IBM deems to be a ‘competitor’ in any dimension,” her attorneys said, according to Bloomberg news.

Microsoft announced the hiring of McIntyre on Sunday.

“I am excited to join Microsoft, a company that has not only adapted well to rapid change in the business landscape but elevated the standards of what we can expect in a technology provider when it comes to diversity and inclusion,” McIntyre said in a statemented. “I look forward to advancing that agenda and contributing to the foundation Microsoft is building.”

Microsoft spelled out an aggressive agenda for McIntyre, who graduated from UNC in 1997 and earned her MBA at Duke’s Fuqua School of Business in 2004.

“As CDO, McIntyre will implement and drive a multitude of existing cross-company initiatives to further Microsoft’s progress in building a diverse and inclusive culture,” Microsoft said in the announcement.

“In addition to leading Microsoft’s efforts internally, McIntyre will also play a key role in building partnerships and working with leading organizations outside of Microsoft to help advance diversity and inclusion in the tech sector overall.”

Role at IBM

McIntyre served as Chief Diversity Officer and Vice President of HR at IBM, leading its diversity efforts. She had worked at IBM since 2006.

On her LinkedIn page, McIntrye noted:

“I am responsible for end to end HR agenda for GTS Asia Pacific and Growth Market Unit which encompasses Central Eastern Europe, Middle East, Africa and Latin America. This mission is fueling IBM’s growth agenda globally, and the service business is leading IBM’s work with clients on Smarter Planet, Cloud Computing, Strategic Outsourcing to name a few elements. Key focus is on up skilling a young workforce, and growing leadership capability for P&L, general management responsibilities, in addition to staffing and deploying high quality sales teams.”

IBM argues that “McIntyre had access to diversity data, strategies, methodologies and initiatives that are confidential, and that she ‘will use, rely on or divulge’ these strategies in her new role,” Business Insider reported.

If McIntyre succeeds in joining Microsoft, she will report to Chief People Officer Kathleen Hogan.

“Diversity enriches our performance and products as well as the communities where we live and work,” said Hogan.  “We have devoted substantial energy and resources to becoming a more diverse and inclusive company, and continuing our progress is central to our evolving culture at Microsoft.  With her extensive expertise, Lindsay-Rae will bring great perspective and leadership as we look to build on our strengths in this area.”

Business Insider reported about the dispute Monday as did Bloomberg.

IBM employs several thousand people across North Carolina.