New York. Friday, March 1.
Kerri stood alone at her office window. She stared at nothing in particular, pondering her uncertain future. Technically, she was unemployed. By virtue of a legally correct shareholders’ vote, she had been summarily relieved of duty. No one had given her direction as to what, if anything, was expected of her subsequent to the vote. She assumed the Iacardi shareholders were happy in their new found wealth and just wanted her to go away. She tried to imagine what, even if the opportunity was offered to her, she would want to do for a company now run by Peter Tavaris and about to be owned by Enerco.
Her thoughts were interrupted by the sound of her door opening. She turned in time to witness the triumphant entry of Peter Tavaris, Iacardi’s newly elected president. He appeared different. She couldn’t determine why. Maybe it was his new grey pin striped suit instead of the usual black, or the white carnation in his lapel. Whatever if was, he looked as if he had paid for a complete presidential makeover. To her, no matter what he wore, he was still the man who made her want to vomit. “What are you doing in here?” she asked, incorrectly assuming the office was still hers.
“I’m about to go to work, sweetheart. Maybe what happened yesterday got lost in your translation box. I’m now the president of this company. The receptionist told me this was the office of the president, so I came here. If you have a problem with that, maybe we should talk about it.”
Tavaris’ belligerent and sarcastic reply was a clear indication that he was battle ready, itching for a fight, maybe large enough to give him sufficient grounds to remove her completely from the company. He had every reason to be combative. For a very long time she had occupied a position that he coveted. Then she had used her position to be a thorn in his side, to spoil every move he made to facilitate the acquisition of Iacardi by Enerco. In the end he had won the battle, one for which she no longer had the inclination to fight. “I don’t have a problem with that. If you would be kind enough to give me a few minutes, I’ll clear out my things and get out of your way.”
Tavaris pointed to the stylishly contemporary white sectional sofa occupying the corner to Kerri’s right. “Sit down. We need to talk.”
“What could you and I possibly need to talk about, Peter? It’s all been said.”
“Trust me. There’s more,” he said, then instead of pointing, he smiled and gestured with his right hand in the direction of the couch.
Kerri sat at one end, Tavaris the other. He folded his right leg over his left, then stroked his stubble with his thumb and first two fingers. “ I spent an hour on the phone this morning with Ken Layton. Among numerous other things, we discussed you...I haven’t made any secret about the fact that I don’t like you. Additionally, you’ve given me every reason to fire your ass right out of this company.” He paused and glared at her for effect. “I’m not going to do that. One reason is that you’d sue me for wrongful dismissal. The other, and this is far more important, is that no matter what I think of you, you’re still a damned good trader. Miles Dennis taught you well. I managed to convince Ken to offer you the job of assistant vice president of trading for Enerco. Your office will be in Houston and you’ll be reporting to Jeffrey Wheeler. We’re prepared to give you a month to make the move and get up to speed. Does that work for you?”
“You didn’t mention salary. Any particular reason?”
“Sorry. I didn’t mention it because it won’t change. Your bonus structure will change because of the nature of what you’ll be doing. You’ll be working for Enerco, so your stock options will be in its stock. That should make you happy. Enerco’s a great company. It’s stock has nowhere to go but up.”
Kerri had a number of problems with Tavaris’ offer: she didn’t like or trust him, she didn’t like or trust Jeffrey Wheeler, she had no interest in moving to Houston, and she didn’t think Enerco was a great company. Other than those concerns, the offer was appealing. “It’s a big change for me...I’m not going to turn your offer down because I need some time to think about it. You should know, however, that it’s extremely unlikely that I’ll accept it.”
“Turning this offer down is a big mistake. We’re giving you the opportunity to be in one of the key positions in what could be one of the greatest companies in the history of the planet,” Tavaris said, delighted with Kerri’s response, certain she would reject his offer and thrilled that he would never be forced to cross paths with her again.
“I’ll think about it,” Kerri said, then stood to begin her job of removing her belongings from what was no longer her office, then turned to face Tavaris. “You should know that I’ve called my loan to the company. I’ve given it thirty days written notice.”
“What loan?” he asked, fully aware of her one hundred million dollar loan to Iacardi. He had failed to anticipate her removal of the funds.
“You know exactly what I’m taking about, Peter. I made that loan because Iacardi was in deep trouble. Obviously, it’s no longer in trouble.”
Tavaris had to think fast. Iacardi had made amazing progress since its near fatal blow on September eleventh the previous year, but it still had next to zero cash. He would have to arrange a new bank loan, or crawl on his knees to beg Ken Layton for an Enerco loan, something he did not want to do so early in his presidency. “Would you consider taking Enerco stock instead of cash?”
“No,” she replied, with emphasis.