‘So far so good, I’ve got rid of three C-Class execs to appease The Brats. Now for No.4,” Ed confides to his diary, referring to the 20-something year-old super-sharpies who monitor his company for its private equity owners. The Brats have ordered obliging him to sack all the C-Class execs pour encourager les autres.
Ed has been picking them off in order of who’s easiest to fire in terms of going quietly.
‘I think it’s going to be the CTO next,’ writes Ed. ‘I’ve sacked a few CTOs – it’s quite easy – tell them you’re halving the R&D budget and they just walk out.’
A few days later, the diary entry reads:
‘Had the CTO in today. “Look” I told him, “times are tough, our sponsors (the pissy name we have to call our PE owners) have asked for savings, and it looks like we’re going to have to cut R&D among other areas”.’
‘”By how much?” asked the CTO.’
‘Here comes the grand flounce-out, I thought.’
‘”50%”, I tell him.’
‘To my immense surprise, the flounce-out didn’t happen. “Which projects do you suggest cutting?” was all the CTO replied.’
‘Bugger I thought. Hasn’t worked. What do I do now? Recovering quickly I told him: “Your project. You’re the highest cost salary in the R&D budget so you’re the first to go. Sorry to lose you. There won’t be a pay-off – our sponsors have seen to that. Sue them if you want but you’ll be wasting your time”.’
‘”It will destroy the company’s credibility in the industry,” said the CTO.’
‘”I don’t think so,” I told him, “from what I hear the industry thinks you’re a bit of a joke”. This was brutal but the guy had to go. His neck or mine.
‘To my embarrassment, tears welled up in the CTO’s eyes. “You utter bastard,” he said and walked out.’
‘Job done’, Ed tells his diary, ‘roll on my $25 mill.’