GERMANY - Today’s arrival of Achim Küssner as the new head of Schroders Investment Management in Germany has been overshadowed by a suit filed against Küssner by his former employer, US asset manager BlackRock.

Küssner, the former head of BlackRock Germany, joined Schroders’ Frankfurt office this morning. He replaced Martin Theisinger, who will join the Frankfurt office for Belgian asset manager Fortis in September.

But as Küssner was getting his feet under his desk, a Frankfurt court has confirmed to IPE that BlackRock has filed suit against Küssner.

“I am not permitted to comment on the details of the lawsuit,” a spokesman for the Landgericht court, which hears civil cases, told IPE. “All I can tell you is that BlackRock has filed a civil lawsuit and there will be a hearing on July 4.”

The court handles civil lawsuits seeking damages that exceed €5,000.

BlackRock declined to comment, as did Schroders. A spokeswoman for Küssner told IPE that he was not immediately available for comment.

BlackRock’s lawsuit against Küssner comes more than three weeks after a federal judge in the US dismissed a suit it filed against Schroders seeking damages for poaching its employees.

IPE understands that three or four other ex-BlackRock employees joined Küssner at Schroders. They include Robert Schlichting, who will take charge of its German institutional business.

Although news of Küssner’s departure for Schroders broke in March, BlackRock did not excuse him from his responsibilities as German head until the end of June, industry sources told IPE.

Küssner was head of Germany and Austria for Merrill Lynch Investment Management prior to its takeover by BlackRock last September. In May 2005, he told IPE that MLIM managed €3bn in assets from institutional clients, including pension funds.

Küssner was succeeded by Andrej Brodnik, who was formerly in charge of BlackRock’s retail business in Germany.