Ex Montréal resident Jean Marie McDonald is the CEO of a Cincinnati based global company in internet and data security, called M-A-S, with offices in 25 countries.
Bob, a 66 year old former executive from a Fortune 500 company, is his Chairman.
Bob got his chairman job as a “going away present” from a crony who wanted him out of the F500 company; Bob agreed and wanted to fish, travel and spend time with his newly acquired girlfriend, Som (Orange) from Bangkok.
Folks who new McDonald were surprised when he got the CEO role from Chairman Bob. Jean Marie comes from operations; he lacks creativity; he is not a strategist and his style alienates people who work with him. Yet he charismatic and charming and very good with managing senior level relationships. He also speaks perfect Japanese who helped crisis management in Japan. The Japanese skills and operations background was the compelling reason McDonald was hired.
When McDonald took over M-A-S, there were too many products, too little investment in continuous engineering for the bread winning products and 3 top tier customers were about to uninstall M-A-S’s products. There was ample cash.
3 years after Jean Marie as CEO, revenues are down 40%; cash is running out and there is a massive exodus of engineering talent. 3 acquisitions have failed and the mind share of the company has plummeted.
Bob invited Jean Marie for lunch.
Bob told him that he had not interfered until now and now was a good time to part as friends. Bob offered Jean Marie a discretionary bonus of 8 million US dollars, use of the company jet and country club fees for life under the condition that Jean Marie would retire for personal reasons in two months and never say a word to anyone, for ten years. The 8 million would be paid out of a slush fund based in the Isle of Man over 10 years to ensure compliance. Jean Marie was also told that he needed to downsize 30% of the staff before he left in a month.
Jean Marie told Bob that 8 million is not enough. Jean Marie hinted to Bob about his knowledge about the use of the company jet for personal purposes. Jean and Bob agreed on 12 million discretionary bonus, over a 9 year silence period.
Jean and Bob then prepared the guidelines for the Board presentation, assisted by CFO
Fabien Lebrun and HR Manager, Gloria Ramsbottom, who showed up with less cleavage than usual, since she had noticed that Chairman Bob had looked at her in great depth in their last meeting.
Fabien helped launder the pipeline to allow the present budget to pass.
Gloria sharpened her axe and prepared the guillotine, after negotiating an SVP for herself and first class travel to Asia here on in.
Fabien spread rumours about a possible acquisition and stock prices went up, two days after Jean Marie left. Bob retired a week after Jean Marie quit.
In the tenure of Bob and Jean Marie, 70% of the company’s employees had been terminated in their tenure; market share dropped by 60%, and a cash crisis was imminent.
In the town square, there was quiet.
There were a few angry talkbacks however in a local Cincinnati web based economic rag.