One day out of the blue, Al came by my office with a consultant, whom he introduced to me. He told me the consultant was here to help me improve IT. I was shocked because everything ran mostly smoothly and because Al had not even once talked with me about my job.
It didn't take me long to figure out that this IT consultant was clueless. His form of "help" was to ask me numerous and inane questions about how our technology and processes worked. I wasn't at all surprised to learn that this consultant was a buddy of Al's.
After a few weeks of this, the consultant sent us a bill for thousands of dollars for his expertise and for the report that he gave to Al. All he'd done was to ask me how our IT was set up and how I would do it differently if we had more money. Al could have gotten all of this information himself if he'd spent a little time talking to me -- for no extra charge.
By now, people in the office were getting fed up with Al. My thoughts must have translated into my body language on the few occasions I encountered him in the office; a few months later, a colleague who'd been there since before Al's tenure told me there were resumes for my position coming in on the main fax line. He asked me if I was leaving, and I said no -- that I knew of. But I somehow avoided being fired and probably replaced with another buddy of Al's.
Eventually, the board stepped in. In the year since Al had been hired, our finances had fallen into terrible shape. The board figured the best way to cut costs was through layoffs. About all the friends Al had hired were let go -- they were being paid much higher salaries than the existing employees, as much as 50 percent more in some cases.
More time passed, and the business situation had not improved. In fact, it was going downhill. One day, I was suddenly called into a meeting with a couple of the long-term directors and members from the board. My first thought: I was getting canned.
In fact, the meeting was about someone getting canned -- but not me. It was Al. They wanted me to watch him pack his personal belongings and walk him out the door, not letting him out of my sight.
More information soon came out about why Al had been fired. It turns out he wasn't using company funds appropriately, to put it mildly. From the sound of things, criminal charges should have been pressed against him, but weren't. He'd also ticked off quite a few of our vendors and customers who had then taken their business elsewhere.
The irony is that a few months later, Al contacted me. The reason? He wanted me to give him a reference.
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This story, "A CEO's sins catch up with him," was originally published at InfoWorld.com. Read more crazy-but-true stories in the anonymous Off the Record blog at InfoWorld.com. For the latest business technology news, follow InfoWorld.com on Twitter.