First time caller, long time listener :)
I'm an assistant professor in a research group. The professor leading our group (and my long time mentor) told me, roughly one month ago, that he got involved into creating a legal entity together with an old pal of him (not in academia). They plan to be commercially active in our field of study.
I don't find this problematic in itself, but I'm worried about conflicts of interest: he does not plan to make his involvement in this entity public any time soon, and surely not before it is commercially active (they are setting up things right now). Moreover, He already mentioned to me that he plans to use interviews carried out within the scope of our research group activities (which, of course, we carry out on confidentiality premises) to the benefit of this company.
As I was uncomfortable with all of this, I shared my concerns with him. He told me that he doesn't see it as I do, that he'll make his involvement transparent 'when the time is right', and that it's common for people in his position to have their side-business (which is true, but I guess there are specific procedures?).
Finally, he told me that if I show enthusiasm and support for this idea he sees me in a shareholder role in the future. I am of course intrigued but at the same time disturbed by the offer in response to me expressing concerns.
Am I overreacting? What should I do? I confess I feel lost and destabilised. So any advice is welcome.