Samsonite CFO to Replace CEO Who Has Resigned After Accounting Scandal and False Qualification Claim


Samsonite CEO Ramesh Tainwala has resigned and to be replaced by CFO Kyle Gendreau, the company said in a filing to the Hong Kong stock exchange on Friday

Gendreau, 49, had been CFO of the group since January 2009.

Samsonite said its board "thoroughly reviewed the facts" related to the allegation about his educational background "and has determined that accepting his resignation is in the best interests of the company and its shareholders."

Blue Orca Capital, a new firm led by renowned short seller Soren Aandahl, questioned Samsonite’s accounting practices on May 24. “We suspect that Samsonite has concealed slowing growth through debt fueled acquisitions and that it has massaged earnings and inflated margins through highly questionable purchase price accounting,” the short-seller asserted in a 48-page report.

Blue Orca also alleges Tainwala of making false claim about his educational qualification as a doctorate, saying he enrolled in but never completed a doctorate program.

The firm in the report asserted that Tainwala "at various points in his career held himself out as a doctor, citing examples including a profile on Bloomberg's website, SEC fillings and company materials that refer to Tainwala as a doctor.

Tainwala told The Wall Street Journal that he never claimed to hold a doctoral degree. He was quoted in the report as saying that that his friends and colleagues referred to him as "doctor" as a joke as they know that he had never completed the doctoral program.


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