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How to quit like a boss

Source | LiveMint : By Priya Ramani

The world’s best central banker, the highest paid corporate executive of Indian origin and the world’s best footballer said bye-bye in an epidemic that seems to be, so far, targeting men in high places (British Prime Minister David Cameron and Indian media mogul Aveek Sarkar were also hit by this bug). Serena, please hang in there even if you don’t win Wimbledon.

Raghuram Rajan and Nikesh Arora announced they were quitting their high-profile jobs last fortnight, using a similar yet different style to say their piece. And before the world could finish exchanging conspiracy theories on why Lionel Messi missed that penalty in the Copa América final against Chile—and before I could finish writing this column—the 29-year-old footballer shocked everyone by announcing his retirement from Argentina’s national team.

The three men share a few things—they are all stars in their respective fields, all idols for their contemporaries, colleagues and the youth, and all in high-pressure jobs involving endless scrutiny by employers/investors (and the world). As the ceaseless debate on what “really” happened plays out, let’s look at how these men quit and what we can learn from their exit strategies.

Central bank governor Rajan wrote a letter to his team saying that though he had been open to continuing for a second term, “on due reflection, and after consultation with the government, I want to share with you that I will be returning to academia when my term as Governor ends on September 4, 2016”. The Reserve Bank of India posted the letter on its website for all to see. Essentially, the governor pre-empted any statement by his employer (who was dithering about giving him a second term)—and ensured sudden death for the he’s staying-he’s going betting pool. Classy.

Arora, former Google star, the heir apparent of SoftBank Group Corp. and the world’s third highest paid company executive, said he was quitting because he didn’t want to be CEO-in-waiting indefinitely. Dissatisfied investors were a more likely reason for his quitting, reports said.

While Rajan stayed away from the press, Arora did what was befitting of any digital age hero—he answered all sorts of questions on Twitter. “He made his reasons very clear, he had a story and he stuck by it. He’s ensuring a smooth transition and he’s declared he’ll be around for any handover,” says Sonal Agrawal, a managing partner at executive search firm Accord India.

Agrawal says she worries if a senior executive leaves a job without notice. “Our antenna goes up. Maybe he was asked to go? Didn’t he have to hand over stuff?”

One other difference: Rajan knew where he was headed next, Arora was vague and talked about taking time out with his one-year-old son. You decide which approach works for you (and don’t let the fact that you’ve got a while to go before you hit Arora’s annual $73 million—around Rs.496 crore—salary influence you).



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