Written By ESR News Blog Editor Thomas Ahearn
On June 1, 2018, Ramesh Tainwala, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Samsonite, the world’s largest travel luggage company, resigned from his position citing “personal reasons” only a week after a report from “activist investment firm” Blue Orca Capital accused him of resume fraud for claiming to have a PhD in business administration despite never completing the program. Kyle Gendreau was appointed new CEO of Samsonite.
According to the Blue Orca Capital report, Tainwala “has at various points in his career held himself out as a doctor” in media sources and regulatory filings. He claimed to have a Doctorate Degree in Business Administration from the Union Institute and University in Cincinnati, Ohio, but the school’s registrar told Blue Orca Capital Tainwala never attained a doctorate but enrolled in a program from 1992 to 1993.
A separate credential check through the National Student Clearinghouse (NSC) also confirmed that Tainwala never attained a PhD. However, the Blue Orca Capital report noted that a doctorate did not appear on Tainwala’s company biography and Samsonite said that it had always accurately described Tainwala’s educational background since the company’s initial public offering in 2011.
Samsonite initially responded to the Blue Orca Capital report by calling the allegations “one-sided and misleading” and the conclusions drawn in the report “incorrect.” In announcing Tainwala’s resignation, Samsonite said “the Board thoroughly reviewed the facts related to this allegation and has determined that accepting Ramesh’s resignation is in the best interests of the Company and its shareholders.”
Tainwala is not the first CEO to leave a firm over alleged resume fraud. In May 2012, ESR News reported that a recently hired CEO for Yahoo! Inc., Scott Thompson, had a discrepancy in his academic credentials that led to him leaving the company. While numerous biographies and securities filings claimed Thompson held a Bachelor’s degree in accounting and computer science, his degree was in accounting only.
Resume fraud is becoming more common. In August 2017, ESR News reported that a survey of more than 1,000 workers and 300 senior managers found that 46 percent reported they knew applicants who included false information on a resume, a sharp rise from only 21 percent in 2011. More than one-third of managers – 38 percent – removed a job applicant from consideration after discovering resume fraud.
With hiring decisions becoming more critical in the current talent shortage, verifying past education and employment credentials has become critical. Unfortunately, falsifying or inflating employment and educational accomplishments is a significant problem for employers since it is easy for job applicants to obtain worthless degrees from “diplomas mills” and fake job histories from websites.
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NOTE: Employment Screening Resources® (ESR) does not provide or offer legal services or legal advice of any kind or nature. Any information on this website is for educational purposes only.
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