We read hire-and-fire stories about the corporates. Here's a live account of how top 4 editors were evicted.
ESOP and mergers are often the reason , for the top level exits. However, managing them with sensitivity, sends the message across the industry.
This account is from the Print and its newly merged digital media. However the senior level exits are almost parallel to what happens in the other sectors.
Tell us your views on how could have this been managed better, with your insights.
How the Forbes India Editors were forced out

From India, Mumbai
Cite Contribution
Community Manager
Recruitment/talent Acquisition, Career Counselling
Start Up Consultant
+1 Other

Hello (Cite Contribution),

An Excellent selection for review/comments/case-study in CiteHR.

While the oft used policy of 'hire & fire' is different, this looks more like a 'USE & THROW' policy--since 'hire & fire' inherently has the situation/possibility of the position becoming redundant/irrelevant/unnecessary along the way.

But, I think it's the scrapping of the old ESOP contract [which obviously was agreed upon & signed by all the parties 4 years ago] & fait-accompli of a NEW ESOP contract presented to the 4 Editors THAT'S THE MORE DAMAGING ACT from the HR of Forbes India.....all one can say is "Spineless fellows". Even if the Company Head-honcho suggested this course-of-action, the HR, IF he/she did have the basic sense of fairplay/commonsense [no wonder someone said 'commonsense is the sense that's not so common'] & MORE IMPORTANTLY adherence to the commitment given by an Entity--irrespective of whatever.

Frankly, all this action does is to cast the Management AND HR of Forbes India in very poor light--even though we can bet our last penny that they will surely find some crazy justification for their action & project the 4 editors as the worst-ever guys on the face of the Earth.

As far as the 4 Editors are concerned, I am quite optimistic that this will turn-out for THEIR BENEFIT & ADVANTAGE in the long-run. Like my oft-mentioned Quote by Alexander Graham Bell: "When one door closes, HE opens other doors. But we, so often, keep staring at the closed door that we fail to notice the Doors He opened for us".

I only hope the 4 Editors keep looking around them.



From India, Hyderabad
Dear Satheesh,
I echo your views on HR at Forbes. The process of offering a severance or termination on spot, was almost outdated , for the top leaders.
Merger debacles are everywhere. Right when two firms merge, top leaders leave and along with them, leaves a team of capable reportees who wouldn't want to adhere to the new org-structure.
This case is an apt example of it . The blog shares only the account of the top 4, I wonder what would be the repercussions on the following line of reportees , specially the capable ones, who might have plum offers from elsewhere !
The modus operandi of the two firms are again the classic cases , where they are rank opposite to each other! The functionalities fail to complement and strengthen the gap.
I wish to hear from every HR reading this case .

From India, Mumbai
Hello (Cite Contribution),
You are absolutely right in saying "The functionalities fail to complement and strengthen the gap".
This merger surely doesn't seem to PRIMARILY be for a better market share OR to combine little strengths to form a larger strengthened Entity--but looks like there's much more than meets the eye.
This seems more like RIL gobbling-up Forbes AND putting THEIR men in key positions--nothing wrong in this strategy per se [many, if not most, companies do it]. But what stinks is the WAY/MODE the existing people have been treated--they could have been packed-off IN A FAR BETTER, PROFESSIONAL & FAIR WAY.
Since the 4 Editors are the top-honchos, they made news--but, like you mentioned, the foot soldiers obviously would be the ones who get hit too AWAY FROM THE ARCLIGHTS.
Hope other members too give their views--mainly from the HR perspective.

From India, Hyderabad
This is a brilliant case study of what not to do! This also successfuly debunks the theory that the larger corporates follow procedures and ethical practices. It is quite sad how easily employees get away with such utter nonsense; and how spineless most HR and middle-management cadres are.
Thanks (Cite Contribution) and TS ..

From India, Mumbai
Thankyou Exceutor,
I have seen many top level exits. Even when they are an undeclared termination, the execs were treated respectfully. They were offered a venture outside the firm , which could complement their strengths .
Mostly , they were made a part of the virtual teams. Unless, they themselves declared the separation, the company continued to acknowledge them as leaders. The transition was addressed as development and not camouflaged by it.
Here the approach towards the exit, as Satheesh rightly echoes, is extremely strange .

From India, Mumbai
Jaggi's mention of "redundancy" as a public position also smells of aggressive posturing. And in my experience that is more often than not just a bullying tactics aimed at covering up a negative story. I find this behaviour fairly common when there is a weak management and the company is run by finance heads with their legal cronies as strategists. At a very small scale; I have seen a start up do the same with its founder members once they started getting larger projects. The decisions were always taken by the CFO who had absolutely no respect for anything that is not green in colour. The result hit this company in matter of months - their turnover took a nose dive.
With the larger corporates the dip in fortunes will probably take longer; but I sincerely hope people find their spines and walk out.
The fact that media colleagues don't cover these stories is also another proof of the cartelized manner the media in India works. Its all FIXED; IPL style.

From India, Mumbai
Here are few insights on this case, shared with the permission from the authors:

Sumeet Mehta, CEO Paradigm Advisor, wrote this comment:

This only shows how lax we Indians are in negotiating business relationships… We dont only need a lawyer to draft the document in legal language and vett the same, but we also need seasoned structuring experts who deliberate on business part, entry, exits, valuation enhancement, and very importantly risk aversion and getting share in upside…

Mistakes made by Indrajit Gupta & team:

1. No negotiations on affirmative rights

2. No negotiations on exit and all related commercial and non commercial and valuations related issues

3. No negotiations on stay on publication in case of arbitration and other such matters and related plug on Network18 to deter them from doing any nonsense

4. No negotiations on valuation of business and brand created by Indrajit Gupta & Team

5. No negotiations on waterfall structures to benefit from valuation enhancement caused only and only due to Indrajit Gupta & Team’s investment in form of sweat and intellectual property

6. No negotiations on exclusivity and non-contravention and structures to overcome and address these issues

7. I wonder why they agreed on ESOPs when they could have stakes, like Rajdeep has in CNN-IBN… May be they could have had both – stake + ESOPs


RP Singh, Senior leader HR Phillips India :

"No wonder attrition beyond global norms , engagement redefined . Keep delivering ,prepare options"

From India, Mumbai
Enjoyed reading it - the original article and more so the comments that brought out the different aspects of the case. Reality of capitalism has to be accepted rather than blaming HR, as if they are the bosses of the business!
From India, Madras

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