Sunday, January 24, 2010

The Week That Was

I don't want to get Dooced, here. So I'm going to tell you a fairy tale.

Imagine you are one of three original founders/operators of a successful business, now in its 18th year. Five years ago, you took on outside investors for the first time, buying out one of the original founders, and giving up majority control of the company to the venture capitalists. A couple of golden years ensue; profits are made and growth occurs.

Imagine that then a recession hits. The company you founded provides a business service that is sensitive to economic vagaries, and business takes a 40-45% hit. As CEO, you struggle with decisions that will keep the company alive -- salary cuts, expense elimination -- without gutting the company's ability to recover when times get flush.

Imagine that you manage to steer this company and its weary, battered staff into safe shoals for 2010. Imagine the entire company taking a collective deep breath of relief as 2010 starts off with stronger numbers than you've seen in over a year.

Then imagine that your partners, the majority owners, make a surprise visit to the corporate offices to tell you that your services as CEO are no longer required, effective immediately.


My job is secure, for now. A new CEO has been brought in to "drive growth" so that our investors can turn around and sell the company in a year or two. The writing is on the wall, though, and I'm coming to work everyday with a lump in my stomach.

Anybody need a CFO?


Domestic Goddess said...

Ugh. Stinky. Awful.

Sigh. If I had a company and needed a CFO, I'd call you first. Really.

insomniac ellen said...

that just sucks--big time.

a "fractured fairy tale".... here's hoping it has the happy ending you want.

Kristy said...

Sometimes I just hate people...especially greedy corporate types. Not that I'm generalizing, of course. Wish I had contacts to give you.

ccr in MA said...

Oh, dear. I'm so sorry. There's a lot of that going around, unfortunately. We have a company-wide meeting next Monday, and I'm already nervous.

Magpie said...

Ouch. I wish I had a good idea for you.

Christine said...

That is not cool. At all.

Good luck with everything.

Kelly said...

Dude. That blows. Do you need any muscle to bust some skulls?

Emily said...

Oh man - that is always a risk when you take on VC. You are smart to keep your head down for now and leave your options open. Happy to chat if you need to scream -- or just lay out all the endless possibilities of next steps.

怎麼會這樣 said...
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Hua said...

Wow, I can't believe that. I'm sending good thoughts your way.

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