The boardroom had a wall of windows that overlooked the city. Although most of the guests would sit at the round table and focus on a speaker when they were in this room, it was here that Mr. H. did his thinking and pacing.
As he paced back and forth in board room he thought about how from this vantage point you’d never know what was going on in the lives of the people below. Mr. H. had been the CEO for some time.
From the beginning, he was groomed to be the CEO. Although the company was a public company, the owner was involved as he retained the lion’s share of the ownership. In this instance, the owner had handpicked Mr. H. to be the CEO and to run the company. In previous years, he had let the board decide on the CEO. However, when it came time to decide on a new CEO, the owner, and the board was unanimous.
Over the years Mr. H. and the owner had a great relationship. The owner had a very clear and detailed vision of where the company was to go and Mr. H. caught it. By the time he was ready to take the helm as CEO, he had plans to execute on that vision.
The decision paid off. Under his leadership, this business flourished. Every decision seemed like the perfect one. Decisions to eliminate wasteful programs, to build up the company’s war chest of funds and even fund research and development were all met with success.
Now, CEO Mr. H. was frustrated and frankly a little bit scared. Here he sat as one of the more successful CEOs of his corporation over the years. In fact, the company had seen more productive years under Mr. H. than decades of predecessors. Now he was facing a hostile takeover from a competitive oil conglomerate.
Mr. H. had good reason to fear. Even though his company was highly successful, the company was relatively small. The oil company, on the other hand, was huge, they had been taking over other businesses and became massive. So much so that Mr. H’s company would simply be a micro division.
This wasn’t his first interaction with this conglomerate. Mr. H. had seen them completely devour some others in his field. In fact, this wasn’t their first hint at takeover. Mr. H. had felt this fear before when his largest and closest competitor was gobbled up. However, during that time Mr. H. was able to secure enough funds to withstand the takeover.
This multifarious organization was notorious. They would often come in and by their sheer wealth overtake a company. Instead of handling these takeovers in a respectable mergers and acquisitions format, they would often publicly humiliate the companies they bought. Tearing apart each company, firing the employees and taking the patents and company secrets as spoils of war.
With little in the way to defend himself, Mr. H was lost. He knew this day was coming and tried to prepare for it. However, There was no way he could generate the revenue or funds to hold off this takeover. He had spent his reign as CEO simplifying and unifying the company. He had cut out all the distractions and bad programs that pulled resources to the wrong endeavors. He felt like he was on a mission until this new “invader” had started poking around.
“How could this happen?”
As he paced back and forth praying for a solution, he couldn’t shake the thought that maybe he did something wrong. Examining every move he made from the past, questioning every decision he made. How could the shareholders even entertain this let alone consider it? Mr. H. was by all accounts a nearly perfect CEO.
He began to think of plans to stop the takeover. Maybe if he brought in some allies he could stop it. Sure it would hurt the company but it would be better than losing it altogether. The lives of his employees were at stake.
Then he snapped back to reality. There wasn’t any time to lose. Mr. H. could not spend his time analyzing his actions in the past. Talks were already underway and what seemed like an inevitable takeover bid was for some a foregone conclusion. Even the conglomerate was boasting about this new acquisition to the press. In fact, in one incredibly bold move, the conglomerate emailed all the employees.
At this point, Mr. H. knew what to do. He needed advice and he needed help. Lucky for Mr. H. there was someone that he trusted for advice. Trust like this was rare, especially when the person was the spokesperson for the owner of the company. This man would sit in on board meetings and come from time to time with a message from the owner.
Seemingly at his wit’s end, Mr. H. sought the advice of this spokesperson. The advisor reminded Mr. H. who the owner of the company was. The owner of this company had let the board make most of the decisions. Rarely intervening unless the company’s demise was imminent. The board always paid tribute to the owner, but they and former CEOs felt like he was more of a figurehead than a real authority at times.
The advisor explained that although the owner was not happy about a recent partnership deal, he was happy with Mr. H’s courage under fire. Now was the time to go to the owner, he explained.
There seemed to be no way to stop the momentum of this takeover. Only the owner had the power and resources to stop this. However, immediately after the conversation, new questions appeared in Mr. H.’s mind.
Life was going so good, he figured the owner would do everything in his power to keep the success rolling. Why would he allow his company to be taken out from under him? Sure he could retain ownership but his influence wouldn’t be the same as it was under Mr. H. Why would Mr. H. have to talk to the owner? Doesn’t the owner know what to do in this situation? Maybe the owner is too busy or doesn’t really care. The owner practically was so wealthy he practically owned everything.
After a lot of thought, Mr. H. talked again with the spokesperson to deliver a message to the owner. In addition, Mr. H. sent emails to the owner requesting his intervention.
It didn’t take too long for the owner to respond. He told Mr. H. that he’d take care of everything.
Mr. H was relieved. The crisis would be averted. Or was it?
Day after day passed and Mr. H. didn’t see the owner acting or moving. In fact, at one point it was leaked that the owner was going to stop the takeover and the oil barons taunted Mr. H. saying nothing can stop this takeover.
After several more days, Mr. H. became nervous again and immediately sought out the owner’s spokesperson.
Why hasn’t the owner done anything? He asked.
Still hopeful that the owner would step in, Mr. H. sent a memo.
As your CEO, I’ve learned a lot from you. Your wisdom has guided me in running this company from the beginning. At this point, I’m at my wit’s end and must implore you to take action.
Sir, the men of this organization not only threaten to take the company but now they are disrespecting you as well. Without your help, these men will do exactly what they have done in the past. Takeover companies, remove the board and shame the previous owners.
However, those previous companies didn’t have you acting on their behalf. Now is the time to act, now is the time to remind everyone who you are and what you built.
Later that evening Mr. H received a text from the ambassador,
“The owner got your message, he says not to worry. He’ll take care of everything. Here’s what he wrote:”
“Mr. H. not only am I going to stop the takeover, but I’m also infusing the business with more cash. Not only will this conglomerate go away but I’m going to remove their threat entirely. I look forward to our next quarterly where you’ll see the plans I’ve laid out for another season of growth for the company.”
The next morning Mr. H. didn’t need any coffee. Normally, a strong brew was needed to get him going, but not this morning. He was anxious with the expectation that the owner would do something. He turned on the news to try to distract his mind.
“In other news today, the oil conglomerate, known for taking over companies and raiding them, has announced it’s pulling out of takeover talks. A source close to the situation said that the organization feared the world over by companies, lost a significant investment and had to cancel plans immediately. It seems that some large stockholder in the corporation sold off their shares at such a rate that it sent ripples throughout all the company’s holdings.”
Mr. H.’s mind was reeling. How could he do that this fast, he thought? What happened?
Mr. H. text the spokesperson immediately expressing his thanks and that he looked forward to the next meeting.
Taken from II Kings 18-19