Taming the Boss LadyBy: Jan Bowles
Kelly McCloud strode purposefully into the boardroom. Situated on the twenty-sixth floor of the McCloud Energy Building in Providence, Rhode Island, it boasted impressive views across the city. The inspiring sight from the huge bank of windows always delighted her as she moved further into the large purpose-built space.
Her twelve executive board members were already there. They stood around talking and drinking coffee. They turned in her direction when she entered the room.
“Good morning, ladies and gentlemen. It’s a wonderful Rhode Island day out there.”
“Morning, Ma’am,” they said as one, before taking their places at the table. As the CEO of McCloud Energy she demanded their respect.
Kelly took her seat at the head of the large corporate table. A seemingly never-ending expanse of finest mahogany stretched down the middle of the room, and shone with a rich, deep luster. Pitchers of water were evenly spaced and interspersed with clusters of glasses. In the center lay an impressive display of red roses and delicate baby’s breath. For more than forty years, powerful, life-changing decisions had been made around this very table. Its history went way back, and she breathed in the atmosphere.
Just three short months ago her father had been sitting in the executive leather chair she now occupied. He’d been flanked on either side by the very same board members she now controlled. How times changed. Her father had suffered a life-threatening heart attack, and was now unable to head the company he’d built from scratch. At seventy-three his days at the helm were over.
Kelly looked up as Eve Mavers placed a black coffee in front of her. “Thank you.”
“How’s your father?” Eve inquired, sounding genuinely concerned.
“Thanks for asking. He’s doing just fine. It won’t be long before he’s back on his feet again.” She was aware that Eve had always harbored a certain fondness for her father. Kelly’s mother had died when she was five years old, and she’d often wondered if Dad would remarry, but it seemed Jed McCloud was a one-woman man. He’d loved her mother deeply.
Kelly dismissed her introspection, and turned her attention to the business at hand.
Her father had always wanted her to take over from him when the time was right. That time was now. As an only child, he’d taught her everything she needed to know about McCloud Energy. She was just twenty-nine years old, but had been attending board meetings as an observer since the age of twelve. Jed McCloud had given her one hell of an apprenticeship.
Although the board had accepted her position as the new boss of McCloud Energy, she was well aware that some of them didn’t like the idea of a woman having such control. However, her father was the majority shareholder, and had total faith in her ability to run the company. She looked across the table at the twelve smiling faces, and remembered his words. Treachery often comes with a smile on its face, sweet pea. She had no doubt if business was bad and the shareholders were displeased, there would be an organized coup to remove her. She didn’t give a damn about what they thought. She was Jed McCloud’s daughter, and that made her a woman to be reckoned with.
In the three months since taking the reins, she’d noticed a gradual decrease in cooperation. It was obvious some board members wanted her to fail. She knew exactly who they were. Failure was not an option. Her father had built this company with his own blood, sweat, and tears, and she wasn’t about to hand it over to some spineless assassin in a suit.
Kelly studied the individuals at the table. Eve, her private secretary had been rewarded with a place on the board for her long years of service. Now Eve wouldn’t give her any problems. She’d been with the company for forty years, and would back the new boss, just like she’d backed the old one.
Rachel, a woman much admired for her ability to win new contracts, had been duly rewarded with a place on the board. There wouldn’t be any trouble from this lady either. She’d just remarried. Was it the third or the fourth time? Anyway, by the dreamy look in her eyes, her thoughts were focused solely on her new husband.
Jacob, Noah, and David were all coming up for retirement, and it showed. They’d decadently succumbed to expanding waistlines and fine living. They offered no threat to her. She figured they were just counting down the days until they could be on the golf course—permanently. They could afford it, too. When they retired at fifty-five, they’d receive a lucrative golden handshake, courtesy of McCloud Energy. These men could be discounted, too. At their age, and with too much to lose, they didn’t dare rock the boat.
Ricardo Fiorucci was a different proposition. Aged forty-five, he was experienced, and slippery, too. He’d had the unfounded belief that her father would hand over the reins to him. Wrong. Jed McCloud was far too astute for that. However, because he was a major shareholder in the company, she had to work with him. Getting Ricardo Fiorucci removed from the board would be almost impossible. The guy was a real live snake in the grass. She’d watch her back where he was concerned.