Man about town

CEO throwing a party to get turnaround ideas


So, the house is empty, and I am loving a return to my bachelor days. A month ago, Shiro suggested that the children go and spend a fortnight of their April holidays with her in Dubai. My initial response was a No since it would involve me spending some serious cash on flight.

She must have known what was on my mind for she said: “No, you do not pay, I am entitled to this as my expatriate package. Even the nanny can come.” I was delighted by this response because it would free me up for things have been rather hectic in the office.

So, last week, I bid the children goodbye and now I am enjoying new-found freedom.

Things have been a madhouse in the office. We are approaching the half-way mark of the year and the numbers are not near where they need to be. As a result, the CEO has been in a foul mood at every turn. He rejected all the proposals we shared with him in several brainstorming meetings he had called.

At one point he banged the table and said: “I cannot believe I have all these senior managers and none of you can come up with game-changing ideas.” He then banged the table and walked out of the meeting room. We were all taken aback by his reaction and especially when he did not come back.


The next day the CEO called me into his office and told me, “Lock the door.” He appeared to be in a good mood and started by asking how my family was doing.

“How is your wife loving Dubai?” he asked. I am usually very confused when bosses behave in this manner and I decided to keep it to the bare minimum — yes and No. He then told me, “I want to host a barbecue in my house for all senior managers.” This truly shocked me, and asked why he was doing that. He said: “I realise that our meeting did not go too well, and I might have annoyed some of you.”

I could see he was hoping for some comment from me, so I decided to be careful with what to say. “Of course, the managers understand your frustration since you want to see the business grow and thrive.” He nodded his head though his mind seemed to be elsewhere. He then proceeded to swear me to “complete confidence.” It seems the board is not pleased with his performance. He told me: “They hired me to effect a turnaround but so far things have not improved. They tell me that if things do not change my contract will not be renewed. It comes up for renewal in June.” Now this was news to me — juicy news, in fact.

He then went on to moan about how he does not want to go back to Europe to “bad weather and to my ex-wife.” I pretended I was being empathic.

“So, I think if we have a relaxed environment with some good steaks and good liquor, ideas will flow seriously,” he said.

I was tempted to tell him that given his last tantrum, he would struggle getting people to talk freely. He needed my “help to ensure all the managers show up.” Any other day, I would have jumped on this opportunity but given the fact that this guy might be shown the door I decided to change tack. I lied that my leave was due “next week to spend time with my children.” He looked disappointed, if only he knew.