“If you were a Company Shareholder,
Would you Fire Me?”
My company shareholders want to fire me! Can you believe that? Please let me know if you think I should be fired. Here is the situation,
I am the senior executive for a very large international company that sells to and operates in virtually every country on the globe, even the hostile ones. I answer directly to the shareholding owners of the company, albeit through a large board of elected company shareholders. Each of the board members own minor, but equal shares of stock in the company. No one person has controlling interest in the company.
While I don’t know much less understand all of the reasons they want to fire me, here are some of the situations I have heard mentioned through the rumor mill.
When I assumed the helm of the Company, this ship was sinking. The last Executive did a decent job early in his tenure and even steered the company through a crisis that might have been catastrophic without strong leadership. However, in his final couple of years, he failed miserably and the company was on the verge of massive layoffs before I even took over. The layoffs came because the value of the company stock plummeted. This was due to the impact of lingering ill-conceived company loans reaching maturity. It seemed like an almost impossible task to turn it around. That’s why the company’s shareholders hired me.
The first thing I did, after putting some of my best henchmen in key positions was to secure a major influx of cash through a loan arrangement backed by the shareholders. I wanted a much larger loan amount, but what we borrowed was all the shareholders would sign off on. We immediately started hiring our workers back. In fact, we have hired almost 25% more than we had before the layoff, but the company income has not yet shown significant signs of increase. I keep telling the board it takes time to fix the last Executive’s mess.
One primary reason the income has not risen is, most of our regular suppliers had already suffered beyond their recovery ability when the company first faltered. They are not in a position to acquire similar loans for their operations and many will go or have gone out of business. It looks like other major suppliers will not be able to gear back up unless we loan them the money. We have done just that in a few select cases primarily to grease the union bosses’ palms for incentive. I contend, the shareholders not agreeing to the amount I initially wanted is the real reason for the continued decline in income.
It became apparent soon after I arrived that the workforce had a rather dim view of management and the attitude was affecting production. Many of the departments of the company were infected with fraud and prone to massive wasteful spending on trips, conventions and stupid programs. To try to enhance production I mandated wholesale improvements to the worker’s benefits programs, but I did not go so far as handing out unconstrained wage increases.
Unfortunately, some of my staff did not brief me very well as to the cost and impact of these benefits. They are twice the cost that I was told and do not deliver the promised perks to large groups of workers. I was forced to give exceptions and exemptions to numerous groups. Now, the shareholders are up in arms about the cost. I didn’t hire this staff. They were left over from the last executive. The shareholders should blame him, not me.
We had an incident at one of our more hostile overseas operations. I contend I did not have time to become fully acquainted with this operation. The incident involved the death of several and injury of a larger number of workers. We hire security contractors at all of our hostile region operations, but apparently some corporate bean counter left over from the last executive’s tenure cut their budget and some of our operations were left unprotected.
All of this happened as I was embarking on a long overdue vacation. I need to have my time too, so I left what I thought was capable staff in charge. Now, the shareholders are upset that I was not present to personally handle the accident recovery and investigation. Again, the staff did a poor job and now I have to be suspiciously cautious what information is made available to those outside of my personal circle. It would seem there are some over-zealous shareholders who want to blame me for everything. For some reason, they erroneously think I was in some way negligent. These workers knew the risk. All of our workers know the risk. What do they expect me to do? Besides that, ‘What difference does it make now? The incident is over.”
At present, I have been able to get the company income up a few percentage points, exclusively through company wide reduction of dividends and benefits to the entire body of shareholders. Now, they have a problem with that! They don’t seem to be capable of seeing the long-term future as I do. I know better than anyone what it is going to take to make this company function equitably for everyone. One might think they would realize that everyone has to sacrifice to get this ship turned around. The last executive left me a huge mess to clean up and slow but steady progress is being made. Why don’t they see it?
I did go back to the well so to speak to obtain larger loans and infuse more cash into the company, but this time I did not make the shareholders guarantee the debt. You would think they would be pleased with that. But no, not a single word of thanks.
I was able to secure the super sized loans by allowing encumbrance on a large portion of the company’s future earnings. Over my objections, the credit rating “Gurus” lowered our credit rating a notch so I had to agree to a higher interest rate on the loans. I believe we will have time to satisfy the loans before they come due against our future earnings if the shareholders will get off my back and let me just do what I already know is best for the company. They just don’t seem to understand what it takes to move a company forward.
Then, the latest complaint is that I invested a large portion of the latest round of loans in twelve or thirteen experimental start-up product companies. Most of them did not make it and have declared bankruptcy. How was I to know that they would go under? The staff was supposed to check them out thoroughly. If we don’t invest in future products, how will we face the future with new products? I still think the risk was worth it.
It has been a tough four years since I took the helm of this company. Sometimes I think I am the only one who can see where I am taking us. I have to force these shareholders in the direction that I know is the right course of action, even if some get hurt. Personally, I think I have done rather well, given what the last bad Executive left for me to clean up.
I don’t think the company shareholders have reason to fire me.
OOPS! I failed to mention a few things that may be important:
- The first loan came to be known as Stimulus Package
- The Company is The United States
- The workers died and suffered injury in Benghazi
- The favored supplier loan was GM
- The latter 12 or 13 loans were solar companies now defunct
- The future earnings are our children’s children’s debt burden
If you do think I should be fired, then join other Patriotic Shareholders to demand removal of this President before he destroys our country.