Edward Crofte strode through the door marked ‘CEO’ without knocking. He’d been looking forward to doing that for a long time. He stood in the middle of the room until Anthony D’Olivera looked up from the papers he was packing into a box.
Back in the bad old days, Edward would have been able to interpret D’Olivera’s expression instantly. Now he was less certain, but as long as he could see defeat, he knew all he needed to.
“Come to mark your new territory?” D’Olivera’s Cape Flats accent, normally no more than a hint in his vowels, was clear even to Edward’s English ears.
Edward strolled to the plate glass window where he looked down at Buitengracht Street, carving through Cape Town toward the cloud pouring off Table Mountain like some impossibly huge waterfall. An open-topped Maserati turned left out of Buitengracht on to Strand Street. With his CEO’s salary, he’d be able to afford one for himself. Or at least persuade the bank to extend his credit far enough.
“Come on, Anthony,” he said. “It’s not like that. Most of our profit comes from Caresaway, so you can’t blame the board if they think you’re holding up the marketing.”
Edward didn’t look around, but he could feel D’Olivera’s eyes on the back of his neck.
“And Caresaway’s your baby, right?” asked D’Olivera.
“Well yes, actually, it is.” That might have been a gloat too far. “Though of course, it was you who brought it on board. And me with it.”
“Hm.” D’Olivera’s single syllable carried years of regret. He couldn’t know the detail of the boardroom alliance Edward had built against him, but twenty minutes ago he’d felt the result in the no-confidence vote.
“We’re in the middle of a global recession, Anthony. We need to make the most of our one blockbuster product.”
“So you said in the board meeting. Repeatedly. But does it bother you that the product may be why we’re in the middle of a global recession?”