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I was sitting in my office when I received a phone call on my office phone. Mobile phones had just been introduced but they were expensive to buy, even more expensive to use and cumbersome. I didn’t have one. The call came from a very well-known Head Hunter of that time. He introduced himself and then presented the proposal of for the position of General Manager Pharma in another big multinational company.

GM Pharma was head of Marketing, Sales, Distribution and Sales Training. The position was bigger than what I was doing. In fact, that kind of position did not exist in Hoechst and was not expected to come any time soon (it still does not exist there). I was intrigued but I was not even thinking about changing job, not to say looking for it. We talked for some time and he proposed that I should at least meet them. I agreed. I met their MD few days later; who was a foreigner. Rather than interview, we had a long discussion about what was happening in the market and the challenges and the opportunities. We literally lived in the market, owing to our very active field routine, so I was very current. The gentleman was positively impressed.

Few days later, the head hunter called me and conveyed the request for another meeting. We met again and after a brief talk, the MD offered the position to me. Actually, he had already decided and was ready with the details of the offer. The offer was quite attractive. There was job enrichment and there was a rich compensation package. I told him I needed to think. Meanwhile, he could send me the offer letter. The offer letter arrived next day promptly.

I talked to my wife about it. We looked at the so-called pros and cons. I also analyzed it objectively and found it right. I decided to accept.

It was not an easy decision. I had a long and deep association with Hoechst and all of its people. I felt extremely at home within the organization. All our challenges were in the market place, not in house. I reported to Tariq Umar and we had evolved a highly complimenting work relationship. TU generated a lot of ideas; some practical, others good but sort of long shot. I had strong flair for organizing. I would take up the idea and worked on its details to put it on the ground. It was effective, intellectually stimulating, challenging, but satisfying. Talking to TU would be the most difficult part.

I told TU I wanted to discuss something. We met, and I told him the detail of the offer. He was agitated at first but listened all the same. Finally, he told me I could not leave. The discussion ended. Next morning, he called me. He said he had been thinking about it.  The offer gave a substantial rise in job portfolio, compensation besides. It could be a real boost to my career. He said he hated to lose me, but he would agree to my departure for the sake of my future. I thanked him. I sent acceptance of job offer to the other company.

I was a Divisional Head and the notice period was three months. TU and I agreed that he would relieve me in six weeks. The news spread quickly in spite of the effort to keep it hush hush.

A week later, Zill-ur-Rehman joined as Marketing Head. We had an already planned new campaign to run. I, ZR and Dr. Humaira Beg, Medical Director traveled together to kickstart the campaign. Three weeks later, Irshad Jan came in to replace me. We started the briefing so that I could handover the responsibility to him.

I must say I was sort of elated. I felt energized by the increased activity in Hoechst and the anticipated new activity in the new job.

During the middle of fifth week, I received another call from the head hunter……

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