I have been contacted several times over the past two weeks about Matthew O’Hagan. He has gone to work for a competitor and as far as I am concerned, that is that. I have worked for myself since 1996 and during that twenty-four years and hundreds of co-workers, it has been inevitable that former colleagues and staff leave my employ and work for competitors, vendors, and clients. Others have themselves opened companies to become competitors, vendors, and clients. Some of those have immediately gone after our clients. All we can really do about that is to work harder to keep our clients happy.
No matter what I think personally about a former employee competing against me, it is the nature of business. It has always happened and always will happen. Nothing will stop that.
Where I have a significant issue is Matt’s unethical comportment.
My teammates and I discovered belatedly, and only recently, that for nearly two years, while under active employment and accepting a full salary and commissions from our company, that Matthew had founded and built a removals network on the side. Mathew’s network went after overlapping removals prospects in secret. (I will provide an evidential timeline of this unscrupulous behavior below this statement.)
In my eyes, Matthew has rendered himself disreputable in our industry. If Michael von Loesch wants to employ him at Carvre7 and Inter-conneX, knowing what I know about Matt now, that makes me all the more pleased..
For those who think this might be using a sledgehammer to swat a gnat (or swat a Matt?), I ask them this:
Consider that you found out you were paying an employee a monthly full-time salary and for nearly two years that person was using that salary and their position to run a business that competed against you. That person had access to your prospect lists and other intellectual property.
- How would that affect your previously positive thoughts on this person as a colleague and personal friend?
- Would you feel that this was fair enough or would you feel cheated and betrayed?
- Would you want those salaries back?
- Would you feel that person to be a principled person or an unprincipled person?
If you answer those questions honestly, then you almost know where I am with this.
A fair question to ask is what does this activity say about Matt’s honesty, loyalty, and transparency?
On top of it, this double-cross was committed by someone I had considered a personal friend. I had thought no reason not to trust him. But he didn’t only let me down with this connivance. He let the entire team down. All of us were in disbelief and could not fathom that Matthew O’Hagan was capable of planning and carrying out this sordid deception. There isn’t a former teammate here who doesn’t feel betrayed.
And jocularity aside, while in our doubtfulness, the common theme of the discussion in our office was the opinion that Matt neither had the business intelligence, nor ambition, nor initiative to take this step. Collectively we felt, and still do, that there was a more astute, crafty and decisive personality who influenced and convinced Matthew to take the steps along this path and pushed him along.
Why? After five years we know Matthew’s capabilities. He could never have gotten the website done alone and the writing in his newsletters is definitely above the standard he produced for us.
If there was another person I don’t think the ethics of running a secretly competing business and Matt’s future reputation were in high consideration. But alas, Matthew is the one we had the relationship with. He was the one who is ultimately responsible for his actions, whether he stays within the bounds of ethics or not. This falls directly and squarely on Matthew’s shoulders.
This statement, in and of itself, should be the final word from my side on the matter. I don’t want to dwell all the time on negative things. Leaving AIN for Carvre7 and Inter-conneX will turn to a positive for our group. In just two weeks we have seen a massive turn around in the network Matthew was associated with. I just want to be clear on the record.
My displeasure and annoyance was the indignation of having a friend deceive me for nearly two years. I never treated him badly. I deserved better. If he wanted to leave, he was free to do so. He didn’t choose to do so honorably. Getting paid by our company while hiding the fact that he was competing against us is a burn against me but the brand mark is on Matthew O’Hagan’s forehead, not mine.
I wish his new company better luck than we apparently had.
Gary Dale Cearley
Postscript: When perusing the below timeline, please keep in mind this quote:
“It takes many good deeds to build a good reputation and only one to lose it.” – Benjamin Franklin
Timeline: Confirmation of Matthew O’Hagan’s improper activity as and while an AIN employee
March 19, 2018
A LinkedIn profile, which appears to be a real person, from Matthew’s hometown, but at the same time it also appears to be a fake account due to the fact that it was used only for one posting.
Business Manager at GEM Network
The only other Ben Meneer to be found in two places on the internet so far. One Ben Meneer account has been on Twitter since 2012 but never tweeted. He appears to be the same person. And funny enough, the Cornish flag that serves as the background of Ben Meneer’s Twitter profile is also the tattoo that Matthew O’Hagan on his arm. I am assuming the Twitter account is real but if the LinkedIn account turns out to not be real then perhaps the same for the Twitter account?
April 11, 2018
The domain for Matthew’s network was registered. The registrant paid to have the owner and administrator redacted for privacy. Of course, Matthew wouldn’t want this known. He had an AGM coming up!
May 20-22, 2018
Just a few weeks after opening his new network Matthew attended the AiO AGM in Cape Town, South Africa.
June 1, 2018
A new potentially real, potentially fake, LinkedIn profile popped up belonging to an Arthur Chen. Arthus supposedly went to work Matt’s network in Hong Kong. His LinkedIn profile shows that he is still working with Matt. No photo is shown, only a logo. Never updated
June 7, 2018
An Instagram account in the name of Ben Meneer posted an attempted advertisement of the GEN Network.
July 6-8, 2018
Matthew attended our company work out session in Pattaya. Still hasn’t informed us of his secret network.
August 27, 2018
Somebody living in Matt’s community asked for the gold foil stickers that we use for membership certificates.
October 11, 2018
Global Exclusive Movers’ Network’s first Facebook post.
November 7, 2018
Global Exclusive Movers’ Network’s first Twitter post.
December 14, 2019
Matt’s resignation letter arrived on a Friday afternoon. He gave two week’s notice during the holiday season, three months from the AGM he was supposedly selling for. Note how it is worded to sound like he was going to be at home being Mr. Mom, not taking up new opportunities with Carvre7 / Inter-conneX, and definitely not coming out of the closet with his own previously stealth network.
January, 2020 (first working week of the year)
Matt started contacting our members as the ‘CEO & Founder’ of his previously secret project, the Global Exclusive Members’ Network (GEM, GEM Network). In true Matt fashion he gets the capitalization wrong on his motto “Exclusively Stronger Together!” [sic], which is more correctly “Exclusively stronger together!”. It’s a sentence, not a title.
January 16, 2020
Matthew O’Hagan announced as Vice President of Carvre Seven and Inter-ConneX
There was a perplexing part of this announcement:
“He [Matthew O’Hagan] has also been a significant contributor to conference organization in his last role, making him an ideal addition to our innovative approach to conference networking.”
I’m not sure whether this is what Matthew told Michael von Loesch to get the job or it is Michael von Loesch embellishing to make it sound better (or both?) but this doesn’t ring very true with anyone in our office.
None of our colleagues ever remember Matthew O’Hagan organizing a conference with us. He was in sales. Period.
Matt’s conference role?
We bought Matthew an airline ticket to the AGM and he showed up. He then basically waited to be told what to do. He’d share microphone duties with other staff and say “Time! Please move on to your next meeting.” (Oh! He also had to get on the buses to banquet dinners and count heads sometimes. I forgot about that.)
In Matt’s defense, there was a time Matt had to do a bit more at one conference because we were short-handed and he complained about that throughout the conference. Why? Because it wasn’t his job. Maybe this is what they meant by him being a ‘significant contributor’? That conference was the one in Cape Town just a few weeks after he’d hung his top-secret GEM Network website.
(But then again, maybe this is exactly what Michael von Loesch means about their ‘innovative approach to conference networking’?)
January 16, 2020
Matthew O’Hagan changes his LinkedIn profile.
He promptly misspells the name of one of the networks he vice president of. Next to his two positions lists himself as “Full-Time” which means either:
- Matthew has told Michael Von Loesch about his secret network and Michael Von Loesch is okay with him running it on the side (but if this is the case then he’s not really ‘full-time’, is he?);
- Matthew has told Michael Von Loesch about his secret network and Michael Von Loesch is not okay with him running it on the side so Matt has left the Global Exclusive Movers’ Network as CEO, but not founder, and if this is true do the GEM Network members know? Who’s steering that ship?; or
- Matthew is keeping GEM Network a secret from Michael Von Loesch too.
It is also interesting to see his two Events Coordinator positions. Those were the ones right above where he was a grade one and grade three teacher. According to LinkedIn, Matt was at once the ‘Events coordinator’ [sic] during an overlapping time when he was the ‘events coordinator’ [sic again] at the same organization. He couldn’t get the titles nor dates straight on that, dear me.
I can help you out with that one. That was a brand for our event. Matt did sales.