Chapter 248: Nothing to Lose
“Think twice? Old Xiao, did you hear that? Vice President Xu here doesn’t have any d*mn regard for you.” Zhang Dashan called out to his president and couldn’t suppress a conceited smile.
As he spoke, the door to the conference room was pushed open, and Xiao Luo walked in his business suit. His smooth, fair, and clean-shaven face had a coldness to it. His features were comely, his angular jaw, poise, and confidence gave off vibes that made others take him seriously.
Everyone instinctively stood up upon seeing Xiao Luo, who meant something to each and every one of them. He was a legend and had saved Luo’s Workshop, teetering on the brink of bankruptcy and closure, from the jaws of their competitor, Taste Buds.
“It really is the big boss!”
Luo Qi was both shocked and elated. After not seeing Xiao Luo for such a long time, she did indeed miss him quite a bit.
The delight was written all over Li Zimeng’s face as well. Xiao Luo was the kind of boss whom subordinates could quickly take a liking to.
“Seems that there is trouble here.”
Lin Chongdong was more circumspect, as he discovered that every time Xiao Luo appeared with that expression, someone was bound to pay, and who that unlucky person was this time around, was quite evident.
“President Xiao, when did you… you come back?”
Xu Guansong’s expression was troubled, not knowing whether to sit or stand, and he appeared a little tentative.
“I was worried that if I did not return, Vice President Xu, you were going to overstep me.”
Xiao Luo glanced at him from the corner of his eyes, then gave a wave of his hand and said, “Sit down, everyone, let’s talk.”
Everyone sat down immediately, and unlike earlier, they all sat up straight, looking alert and focused. Several people who were dozing off before Xiao Luo stepped in suddenly had no more trouble keeping their eyes open.
Respectfully, Zhang Dashan gave up his seat in the middle and sat on the right of the long table.
“I’ve been busy over some private affairs recently, and I specifically appointed President Zhang to manage the company for me. When I left, you all also agreed to give your full cooperation to President Zhang. But some people here think that they have done our company great service and are indispensable. They even don’t give a d*mn about President Zhang, defying him publicly. Xu Guansong, you’ve really impressed me.”
Xiao Luo was standing and leaning on the table, with both hands on the table supporting his weight. His words sent a chill down the spines of Xu Guansong and his allies.
“President Xiao, Mr. Zhang is not capable of running this business, how can you leave the company in his hands? The company would go out of business sooner or later if this continues.” Xu Guansong explained himself.
“He isn’t really capable of running this business?”
Xiao Luo laughed coldly. “So tell me. How has the business been lately? Have there been any significant incidents? It seems customers’ orders are increasing, and he managed the operations well, yet you are telling me that he isn’t competent? Surely you aren’t going to claim that he wasn’t the one in charge during this period, and the company did well because of you, Xu Guansong?”
“I’m not saying that,” said Xu Guansong.
“You didn’t, and you dare not, because you did nothing during this period other than to create trouble for President Zhang and embarrassing him,” Xiao Luo growled.
“President Xiao, I know Zhang Dashan is your classmate in university and your best friend, but you can’t fire me just because I didn’t obey his orders. At the very least, I watched Luo’s Workshop grow. I was already working here when Fang Changmiao was the boss, and I don’t think there’s anyone else in the company that has worked for more years than I have.
“If you fire me just for your friend’s sake, let me ask you, who in this company would be able to feel secure about their jobs from now on? And if they accidentally offended your friend, you would not hesitate to punish them. Aren’t you worried that the company would no longer have any spirit of unity and fall apart by doing so?”
Xu Guansong responded in a way that portrayed that he had the interest of the employees at heart. At this juncture, he couldn’t turn back, and his best hope was to plow ahead without fear of Xiao Luo as he had nothing to lose. He needed to be perceived that he had the conviction and courage to argue with Xiao Luo. Doing it in front of all the key employees of the company would strengthen his standing. So what if Xiao Luo was back. He honestly did not believe that Xiao Luo would really dare to fire him.
As he had hoped, on hearing his words, a looks of doubt formed in everyone’s eyes. Firing Xu Guansong for only being rude to Zhang Dashan was unreasonable and a disappointing decision. The fear had been seeded in their minds, and it played to Xu Guansong’s advantage.
“Are you threatening me?” Xiao Luo glanced at him calmly.
“I dare not, you are the boss of Luo’s Workshop, and we are all your subordinates. You can fire whoever you want, I am just reminding you not to disappoint us all. No matter how high a building is, as long as its foundation is unstable, it will collapse,” Xu Guansong said so in an impartial manner, playing to the sentiment of the crowd.
His words sounded earnest, from the bottom of his heart, and it touched the souls of the listeners. Even Luo Qi and Li Zimeng felt that Xiao Luo was unreasonable, what more the others.
“Sir, Vice President Xu is loyal to the company and has been hard at work all along. If you fire him just because he had been rude to President Zhang a few times, I would be the first to object.”
“Yeah, President Xiao, please do not disappoint us as we are all loyal to the company.”
“It’s normal to have differing views during company meetings. Vice President Xu only voiced out his opinion, he wasn’t deliberately being rude to President Zhang. If this isn’t even allowed, who would dare to speak up in meetings the next time?”
“A good decision requires everyone to work as a team and participate in the discussion actively. If there wasn’t even freedom for us to voice our thoughts, there would be no need for a meeting at all, and President Zhang might as well just make all the decisions himself.”
Xu Guansong’s trusted subordinates began to speak up in support of him. They firmly believe that Xiao Luo would relent.
But Xiao Luo just smiled and stared coldly at Xu Guansong, and said, “Xu Guansong, do you really not know why I am firing you?”
Xu Guansong was slightly stunned, and he suddenly sensed something amiss. He coughed a couple of times dryly and forced himself to calm down. It was all or nothing, he spoke with the conviction of one with nothing to hide, “President Xiao, don’t mince your words, just say it out loud. A straight foot has no fear of a crooked shoe. I, Xu Guansong, swear on my dignity and have never done anything detrimental to the company!”
Xiao Luo laughed in derision, then called out fiercely, “Department Head Guo!”
The door to the conference room was pushed open. A lady in office attire walked in, her face pale and uneasy.
Guo Fu, the head of the finance department?!
Only then did everyone realize that Guo Fu wasn’t in the conference room when the meeting commenced.
Xu Guansong had also just realized it. His expression changed drastically, and he cast Guo Fu with a meaningful stare as if warning her of something.
“The first thing I did after coming back was to visit the finance department and check the accounts for the period I was gone, and I realized that Department Head Guo had manipulated the financial reports,” Xiao Luo said very calmly.
While Xiao Luo was talking, Zhang Dashan turned on the projector in the conference room, promptly clicking on two files and projecting the reports in question on the screen.
Two financial reports were displayed, one interim and the other external. It showed that the contents of the two were identical, except for the final sums of transaction.
“The company pays taxes according to this financial report. Under the item of the total transaction, the external report has an amount of five million dollars less than that of the interim report. However, the tax expense reported to the company by the finance department is about 200,000 dollars more than the actual amount of taxes we are required to pay. This 200,000 dollars didn’t enter the government’s coffers, nor did it enter the pockets of everyone seated here.”
Xiao Luo turned his gaze to Guo Fu and smiled mockingly. “Department Head Guo, tell us, whose pockets did it enter? As long as you tell the truth, I will not pursue your case, given that no significant damage has been done yet.”