The End of the Voicemail Story!
As expected, during the first weeks of his tenure Rossi held non-stop meetings with department personnel. His intimidating and argumentative approach were distasteful but tolerable for the strong, mature management team that Finnigan had formed over the past seven years. And the level of attention that Rossi directed toward female staff members was also obvious as stories of office affairs were openly circulated by willing participants. However, a young secretary reported an unwanted advance that Rossi made at a contrived "working"dinner and while she was so traumatized that she resigned her position, she chose not to press charges for fear of what her husband would do to Rossi if he found out.
Just prior to leaving for the World Telecom Conference in Geneva Switzerland, the company auditors advised Chairman Finnigan they had found questionable expenses incurred by certain board members that were being reimbursed by the company. In the coarse of an investigation that followed Voicemail's VP of Finance disclosed that he had inappropriately approved expenditures submitted for "personal entertainment". Finnigan instructed the VP to advise the board members that such reimbursements would cease immediately, the company must be repaid for the expenses and that the auditors findings would be disclosed to the board at the next meeting.
During the ITU international conference, René Beusch, Managing Director of Radio Suisse and a Voicemail Board Member who is fluent in English, German, French and Italian, overheard Finnigan's name used in a context so threatening that he advised Paul to leave Geneva as quickly as possible. Paul left by express train to Bern where he checked into a hotel where René had arranged with the hotel manager that Paul would remain "incommunicado". The next morning the manager called to report a late night caller with a southern Europe accent inquiring about Paul's whereabouts.
Finnigan had previously agreed to meet with Italcable executives in New York but based on what had happened, he decided to take the train to Zurich and fly directly to California. The managing director of Italcable called from Rome the next morning and in a furiously tone of voice demanded a meeting with VMI's newly appointed CEO Alan Rossi to have serious "discussions".
At the meeting in the Fairmont San Jose, there was no discussion about company strategy or change in market directions. There was no discussion of the Auditors' finding inappropriate expenditures and reimbursements to certain board members. There was no discussion about a secretary who fought off an unwanted attack. There was only a discussion of a credit line Voicemail had extended to a Service Operator for purchase of a Voicemail system and this certainly did not warrant the intensity of the accusations or the threats of an investigation, charges, prison and other "remedies", unless Finnigan immediately tendered his resignation.
For Paul Finnigan personally, the decision to leave the board's world of insanity had long since been made and he was relieved that the door was now unlocked and he could finally escape. The termination agreement left him free of any residual obligations, non-competition clauses or financial liabilities and was executed the next day under the guiding hand of Paul's long time legal advisor Hank Massey.
Within one week Finnigan USA was formed and was leading the International marketing program for one of Voicemail's leading competitors. The International Voicemail Association now included over 200 member companies worldwide and Finnigan would continue his role in leading the industry to toward growth and profitability, and the rest of the story is now history!
Voicemail's free-fall from the service industry leader to chapter 7 filing took just over one year and in spite of newspaper reports of ties that federal agents found in confiscating millions of dollars found in a Texas lock box, neither the board or its investors, nor the SEC pursued an investigation into Voicemail's untimely demise.
DOING BUSINESS CAN BE LIKE SWIMMING IN A CESSPOOL,
YOU NEED TO HOLD YOUR NOSE AND SWIM AT THE SAME TIME!