Time to say goodbye … the chairman decides enough is enough.
“What do you mean you’re leaving?” I spluttered at the chairman of the implausibly-sized investment company Second Coming Asset Management as we met for a hastily-arranged pint or two of Time for a Change at The Unexpected Departure – although, on reflection, you would have to say the signs were there.
“Departing the scene, hitting the road, taking myself out of the equation,” the chairman clarified. “I am, in short, off.” “You can’t do that,” I protested. “Oh, I think you’ll find I can,” the chairman demurred. “But you have duties, responsibilities, commitments,” I tried again. “You have employees, premises, funds under management – well, employees and premises.”
“No,” said the chairman. “As of today, I don’t. I’ve sold up.” “Good grief,” I found myself spluttering again. “When did that happen?” “Today,” said the chairman. “Weren’t you listening?” “More broadly, I’ve been thrashing out the details over the last 12 weeks or so and I dare say, if you could have been bothered to check in with me more than once a month of late, you might have noticed.
“Even our conversation last month ought to have alerted you to my growing ambivalence towards this new and soul-sappingly dreary era for the once-wonderful world of investment. The only thing that has been keeping me going this year has been the current trend for spectacularly unsuitable and ill-thought-through M&A deals.”
“Because you knew it was only a matter of time before some asset consolidator made you an offer?” I checked. “Now you’re catching up,” the chairman nodded. “And Scam’s general lack of assets wasn’t a problem for them?” I asked. “Apparently not,” said the chairman. “As I say, in this sort of environment, it tends to be acquire first, ask questions later.”
“Merge in haste, repent at leisure?” I suggested. “I think mine was better,” said the chairman. “Anyway, Scam’s new owners Dimbank have a lovely new premises with six spacious floors, meeting rooms, laboratory, nuclear bunker, water feature, flagpole, terrier-sized hamster running loose in the ventilation system – everything in fact the modern asset manager could possibly wish for.”
“And what about your employees?” I asked. “Actually the acquirer didn’t seem very interested in the staff,” replied the chairman. “Although, of course, acquirers rarely do. So I’ve paid off the human ones – quite well, since you didn’t ask – and packed the rest off to Whipsnade Zoo and Kew Gardens, as appropriate.”
“But what about me?” I said pathetically. “Oh, I’m sure you’ll think of something,” said the chairman. “And what about you?” I asked. “I’m sure I will too,” came the reply. “Though I haven’t got much beyond taking one last shot at luring Adair out of the ventilation system. He must be getting peckish by now.”
“Hang on,” I said. “Didn’t Dimbank – or at least an earlier incarnation – buy one of your previous operations back in early 2000?” “Yup,” laughed the chairman. “Some people never learn, do they? Now you have a lovely Christmas and we’ll see what the New Year brings.”