Got an email from a reader late yesterday about the sudden (as in instant) firing of SAIF’s new CEO. On the job for three months, John Plotkin got a call Saturday (after he and the VP of Legal Affairs returned from a business trip) from the Board Chair telling him he had till 3 pm the next day to resign.
Plotkin was given no reason for the decision, however we have learned there were a series of employee complaints that he had made “inappropriate comments” to several employees. Among the “inappropriate comments” was a statement encouraging an employee to “speak English, not actuary.” Several complaints referenced his dog, evidently brought to the office on April Fool’s Day as part of “bring your dog to work day”, a corporate April Fool’s event.
Ok, this is weird. A phone call – on a Saturday – telling you you’ve got 24 hours to quit or else, and you aren’t told why. Later you find out the decision bas based on comments encouraging people to talk in language people can understand, and references to one’s canine. You’re never given a copy of the complaints or been allowed to respond to them.
It gets even stranger. Evidently SAIF employees are none too happy about the decision. Several hundred showed up at a Board meeting last Wednesday to voice their displeasure about the firing – after an initial Board meeting earlier in the week was cancelled when a hundred showed up.
Clearly SAIF’s employees like the guy, even if he does have a bulldog and wants actuaries to speak English (so non-actuaries can understand them).
Then it comes out that none (as in zero) of the complaints were ever investigated. And, HR processes were never followed. And, you’d been told just two weeks earlier by the Board Chair you were DOING ALL THE RIGHT THINGS AND THAT YOU WERE SO PLEASED THAT THE BOARD HAD MADE THE RIGHT DECISION (from Plotkin’s address to the Board meeting).
I don’t know Plotkin, or SAIF, or much about this series of events, but what I do know is appalling.
There’s much more to this story and we can only hope it comes out quickly and fully. Unfortunately, SAIF’s employees, policyholders, and claimants are going to be hurt by a precipitate decision based on innuendo and rumor.
What does this mean to you?
If a headhunter calls about the SAIF CEO job, RUN AWAY.