From Vishal Sikka to Steve Jobs, most innovative resignation letters by corporate honchos

In an unexpected turn of events, Vishal Sikka has today resigned as the Managing Director and CEO of Infosys mentioning ‘personal attack’ on him as one of the key reasons for his decision. And as the company’s board appointed Chief Operating Officer UB Pravin as the interim MD and CEO, a statement from Infosys stated that co-founder NR Narayana Murthy’s ‘continuous assaults’ is the primary reason for Sikka’s resignation.

Clarifying his sudden decision in a blog, Dr Sikka wrote in his resignation letter, “For days, indeed weeks, this decision has weighed on me. It is clear to me that despite our successes over the last three years, and the powerful seeds of innovation that we have sown, I cannot carry out my job as CEO and continue to create value, while also constantly defending against unrelenting, baseless/malicious and increasingly personal attacks.”

While Dr Sikka’s resignation letter cites personal attack and negative remarks made on him, here are a few more earlier instances where global corporate leaders came up with innovative ways to declare their resignation:

Greg Smith from Goldman Sachs: Greg Smith’s resignation as the Executive Director of the Goldman Sachs was published in the New York Times in a piece titled ‘Why I Am Leaving Goldman Sachs’. Declaring his resignation Smith wrote, “Today is my last day at Goldman Sachs. After almost 12 years at the firm — first as a summer intern while at Stanford, then in New York for 10 years, and now in London — I believe I have worked here long enough to understand the trajectory of its culture, its people and its identity. And I can honestly say that the environment now is as toxic and destructive as I have ever seen it.”

Kevin Nalty from Merck Pharmaceuticals:

Neil Berrett: Coming up with the most innovative way to declare resignation, Neil Berrett submitted his resignation letter on a cake. “Dear Mr. Bowers – During the past three years, my tenure at the Hunters Point Naval Shipyard has been nothing short of pure excitement, joy and whim.
However, I have decided to spend more time with my family and attend to health issues that have recently arisen. I am proud to have been part of such an outstanding team and I wish this organization only the finest in future endeavours.
Please accept this cake as notification that I am leaving my position with NWT on March 27. Sincerely, W. Neil Berrett,” wrote Berrett.

Jake DeSantis from American International Group: In his letter of resignation, Jake DeSantis, who was the executive vice-president of the company wrote, “After 12 months of hard work dismantling the company — during which A.I.G. reassured us many times we would be rewarded in March 2009 — we in the financial products unit have been betrayed by A.I.G. and are being unfairly persecuted by elected officials. In response to this, I will now leave the company and donate my entire post-tax retention payment to those suffering from the global economic downturn. My intent is to keep none of the money myself.” Read his full letter published by the New York Times in a piece titled, ‘Dear A.I.G., I Quit’.

Watch: 25 year old American quits job by making a video titled, ‘An Interpretive Dance For My Boss Set To Kayne West’s Gone’.

Jonathan Schwartz from Sun Microsystems: Declaring his resignation as the CEO, after the company’s sale to Oracle, Schwartz tweeted in Haiku, “Today’s my last day at Sun. I’ll miss it. Seems only fitting to end on a #haiku. Financial crisis/Stalled too many customers/CEO no more.”

Andrew Mason from Groupon: After being fired as the CEO of Groupon, Andrew Mason wrote, “After four and a half intense and wonderful years as CEO of Groupon, I’ve decided that I’d like to spend more time with my family. Just kidding – I was fired today. If you’re wondering why… you haven’t been paying attention.”
Read Andrew Mason’s full letter.

Steve Ballmer from Microsoft: Quitting from the board of Microsoft in 2014, Steve Ballmer cited his need to concentrate on his new basketball team, the LA chippers, as the key reason for his resignation. In his resignation letter, Ballmer mentioned, “I bleed Microsoft —have for 34 years and I always will.”

Steve Jobs from Apple Computer: Quitting from the position of the Chairman of Apple Computer in 1985, Jobs re-joined the company 12 years later. In his letter of resignation, Steve Jobs said, “I find myself both saddened and perplexed by the management’s conduct in this matter which seems to me contrary to Apple’s best interest…I am but 30 and want still to contribute and achieve.”

Steve Jobs from Apple: Once again resigning as the CEO of Apple in 2011, Steve Jobs wrote in his resignation letter, “I have always said if there ever came a day when I could no longer meet my duties and expectations as Apple’s CEO, I would be the first to let you know. Unfortunately, that day has come.”

By Priyam Mukhopadhyay

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