Bahar Etminanm (pictured) allegedly told Ferrari about her partner’s affair with a subordinate colleague
The girlfriend of a Ferrari boss, who impregnated a younger co-worker, told the luxury car company about the affair before taking him back, it has been claimed.
Herbert Appleroth, the sacked chief of Ferrari in Australia, alleged it was a ‘notorious fact’ that senior executives at the company ‘routinely’ had sexual relationships with junior colleagues in a civil lawsuit against the company.
The 47-year-old alleges he was wrongly sacked in October 2019 by Ferrari headquarters because of a consensual relationship he had with a subordinate resulting in the woman giving birth to a son.
The former CEO and managing director of Ferrari Australasia allegedly attempted to convince the woman, who cannot be named for legal reasons, to have an abortion.
At the same time as this sexual relationship with the woman, Mr Appleroth was in a relationship with Bahar Etminanm, who is the founder and CEO of lifestyle website Rescu.com.au.
According to The Australian Ms Etminanm learnt of her partner’s infidelity and the pregnancy, and then allegedly told Mr Appleroth’s colleagues at Ferrari.
The paper claims she advised Ferrari President Far East & Middle East, Dieter Knechtel about the relations due to concerns over the company’s culture.
In a statement of claim obtained by Daily Mail Australia, Mr Appleroth said that his actions were ‘not inconsistent with the expected behaviours of the CEO’.
The documents, lodged in May and withdrawn two weeks later, named Maurizio Arrivabene, former principal of the Scuderia Ferrari Formula One Team, as someone who was allegedly known to have had relationships in the workplace.
Daily Mail Australia does not suggest that Mr Appleroth’s claims are true, only that they were contained in the statement of claim filed with the court.
Mr Appleroth – who is an heir to the Aeroplane Jelly fortune – was seeking $3million in damages but discontinued the lawsuit, saying he wanted to protect the privacy of his family.
In October, Mr Appleroth was directed to leave Ferrari’s offices, told not to return, and given five weeks pay of his $320,000 salary in lieu of notice.
His relationship with the junior colleague lasted from 2016 to late 2017.
Mr Appleroth and Ms Etminan have reconciled, according to The Australian.
Herbert Appleroth (pictured) alleges he was wrongly sacked in October 2019 by Ferrari headquarters because of a consensual relationship with a subordinate colleague
Global executives told Mr Appleroth on October 22 that the company had lost confidence in his ability to perform as CEO, the documents claim, because of his conduct, including the sexual relationship with a subordinate, and a ‘number of complaints’ against him connected with other alleged ‘inappropriate conduct towards staff members’.
The woman Appleroth had the relationship with had lodged a workers’ compensation claim in September after contacting the company in February 2019 about returning from maternity leave.
She alleges she was subjected to verbal abuse by Mr Appleroth and was not given fair performance assessments.
According to Mr Appleroth’s lawsuit, matters connected to her employment were handled by the company’s finance director to avoid any conflict of interest and the relationship did not affect Ferrari’s business interests.
He also claimed he was not informed of any other complaints against him or given due process for the claims to be investigated or for him to respond.
His lawsuit alleges Ferrari’s sacking of him was ‘dishonest’ and caused him to forfeit interests in company stock.
The matter was originally sent to the Fair Work Commission for mediation but Mr Appleroth launched the lawsuit in the Federal Court when talks failed.
The former CEO and managing director of Ferrari Australasia launched a civil lawsuit in May claiming that his actions were ‘not inconsistent with the expected behaviours of the CEO’
His lawyer, Rebekah Giles, confirmed he had withdrawn the case.
‘For the record, as many others including his former employer were well aware, my client had previously had a consenting relationship with a co-worker,’ she said.
‘However, he has since instructed his lawyers that he wishes to place his family’s privacy ahead of holding his former employer to account, and will now focus on the future, including pursuing his philanthropic passions.’
Mr Appleroth is heir to the Aeroplane Jelly fortune after the company was started by his great grandfather.
During his tenure as CEO Ferrari’s Australia sales more than doubled in just over five years to 257 cars in 2019.
He had previously said working at Ferrari had been a passion and he worked seven days a week.
A spokesperson for Ferrari told Daily Mail Australia the claims in the lawsuit do not represent the culture at the company.
‘Ferrari rejects recent characterisations of its workplace culture. Ferrari is committed to fostering a diverse, equitable and inclusive workplace and community,’ the spokesperson said.
‘Ferrari’s workplace policies are clear, we do not condone or accept harassment or misconduct of any kind’.
Maurizio Arrivabene (pictured) was the team principal of the Scuderia Ferrari Formula One team until January 2019