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Thursday, May 16, 2002

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Rescue mission

D. Murali

BOBBY Parikh is smiling — flanked by his new bosses in the photos that the financial press flashed on front pages — but it seems he is hiding a twitch. With him as the ex Country Managing Partner in a sinking firm, and the CEO in the new outfit, one might view E&Y as the lifeguard that arrived at the right time, or a second marriage when the spouse is only clinically dead.

None would have wanted Bobby to be the Casabianca of Felicia Hemans, standing "on the burning deck whence all but he had fled, as born to rule the storm, a creature of heroic blood." Or the Pharaoh's man who had to be entombed live along with the mummy.

While one may wish him well in his reincarnation, it is but tragic that this had come to pass. After all, at Andersen, they were all proud of "a strong culture, deep commitment to quality and client services focus aimed at consistently meeting and exceeding client expectations". Suddenly, the company that had `Think straight, talk straight' as the motto headed to the shredder, and there was talk of cannibalising the firm, harvesting what remained of Andersen.

It is barely two months since Tom Rodenhauser wrote in his `Inside Consulting' column that "Death can promote life; ask anyone who's ever received an organ transplant. Unfortunately, harvesting business consultants is not the same as matching human organs." Because, with Andersen's demise, "professional staff will flood an already glutted market".

As refugees fleeing reprisal, many of the Andies would look a safe nook, though it would be sensible to claim that their new abode is a firm where he or she could nurture and continue to build on the old firm's values. Any talk of `alignment of thinking', `coming together of equals', `exceptional platform for growth', `new ability to build deeper technical skills', `sharper industry focus', and `being excited at the value proposition that it would present for the clients' would all be appropriate sound bytes.

Successful transplants have to cross one major hurdle, however — that of rejection.

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