Starting today, Ludwik Sobolewski should be handing in the keys to the BSE (more specifically, the access card, the computer passwords), as well as the goods availed to him by the exchange - the car, the phone, the laptop.
Logically, his term at the helm of the BSE ends four years after his validation by the Supervisory Board of the ASF, after on Friday, the fifth meeting of the Board of the Exchange summoned to vote on extending the term of the Polish CEO failed to meet the quorum.
Four members of the Board of the BSe did not attend the vote, on the item concerning Sobolewski's term, over the last four meetings, clearly demonstrating that they want him to leave.
Four members represent half of the Board of the Exchange, which is missing its ninth member for the moment, after the death of Cristian Micu, in June.
With the opposition of half of his bosses, Sobolewski could have just handed in his resignation of honor, after any of the three board meetings that preceded the one on Friday, in which he failed to secure a new term. Sobolewski would have left with a certain halo, especially since, according to the mandate contract, he was entitled to a bonus of 170,000 Euros for 2017, as his performance was being compared to the disaster of the previous years.
He has met his goals, Sobolewski wants his money.
Market sources are reporting that Sobolewski is asking CFO Virgil Stroia to pay his bonus, claiming that it doesn't have to be approved by the Board of Direectors, even though that used to be the practice until now.
Sobolewski's anxiety when it comes to the money may have some merit, because even though his mandate contract sets criteria which entitle him to receive the money, the approval of the payment hasn't been made during his term, which is a regrettable negligence of his good friend Lucian Anghel.
It wouldn't be surprising to see a little scuffle between the two.
But Sobolewski didn't go out with a halo.
He came to the BSE as the "Alpha male", as he called himself, and in his hubris, he bet everything on Lucian Anghel, who had promised to help him get a new term.
Besides, Lucian Anghel tried all kinds of tricks to keep his word - he didn't summon the meeting of the Board until the vacant seats had been filled out, after the resignation of Radu Toia, with Claudia Ionescu, and then he got a legal opinion which stated that the board members who had been absent from a meeting had in fact been present.
Despite all this wheeling and dealing, Lucian Anghel failed to change his strategy along the way, but just plowed on, summoning five board meetings even though he should have gotten the hint after the first one.
Thus, the four years at the BSE end up in humiliation for Sobolewki. The lack of quorum in the last four meetings amount to a rejection of extending his term.
It's unclear which one is worse.
Leaving in humiliation from Bucharest or with a row from Warsaw?
Before coming in on a white horse to Romania and having a red carpet laid out before him, Sobolewski was let go from the Warsaw Stock Exchange, in January 2013, after he was criticized for proposing to the issuers to fund movie in which his girlfriend at the time, actress Ana Szarek, was playing. As luck would have it, the movie was called "The pharaoh's curse".
Back then, Sobolewski thought he did nothing wrong and refused to resign, and so he had to be removed by the General Shareholder Meeting, after having previously been suspended from his position.
At the time, Mikolaj Budzanowski, the Polish Treasury Minister, thought Sobolewski's behavior was "unethical" and "shameful", according to Financial Times.
A prophetic characterization. In Bucharest, the same thing is happening.
On the surface however, things may not look the same.
The law, the regulations and the decency may be ignored, as we have become accustomed to with the group around Sobolewski, when trying to push their agenda. But normally, this would be a closed case.
ADINA ARDELEANU (translated by Cosmin Ghidoveanu)