My sacking was over in a minute: Nirmalya Kumar
MUMBAI: Recalling how he was ousted as one of the non-executive directors of Tata Sons, Prof. Nirmalya Kumar of the London School of Economics says it was over in a minute, with no forthcoming explanation, just because he was close to sacked Chairman Cyrus Mistry.
“At 9:00 pm, I get a call from a colleague with whom I had worked very closely and got along famously as we were often on the same side of arguments,” Kumar says in a posting on his personal Web site, recalling the eventful day of Oct 31.
“He informs me: ‘It is my unpleasant duty to say your services are no longer required’. No explanation. I query: Does this mean I do not need to show up tomorrow morning? Receive an affirmative reply,” he says.
“That’s it. It’s all over in a minute,” says Kumar in the post, titled “I Just Got Fired”.
Kumar also says while ‘you’re fired’ is a common phrase in the corporate world, nobody is actually prepared for it and that he now stands unemployed for the first time since he turned 18.
The 56-year-old professor also turns philosophical in the post and says, despite the “unceremonious” and “un-Tata-like” end, he has nothing negative to say and that is also not the fault of 670,000 employees.
“Once fired, you discover your friends and the integral qualities of those who worked with you. The interesting insight for me was that the higher in the organization you go, this ‘human aspect declines,” he says.
“People at the bottom of the pyramid treated me with the same respect and affection as always. Their smiles were genuine and open,” he says, adding that those in the middle were also actually sad to see him go.
“The reaction at the top of the pyramid was interesting. With three exceptions, the many CEOs and top executives I worked with closely for three years went silent.”
Kumar, seen as being close to ousted Tata Sons Chairman Cyrus Mistry, says competence was never in question.
“It was not as if I was fired for non-performance (my last evaluation was excellent). I always do my best — it’s the least I expect from myself and the most anyone can expect from me,” he says.
“I was fired for just being there at my position — working intensely and extensively with Cyrus.”