Samsonite International SA, the world’s largest luggage maker, on Friday announced that it had accepted its Chief Executive Officer Ramesh Tainwala’s resignation. The announcement follows a report by short-seller Blue Orca Capital that accused Tainwala of falsely claiming he had a PhD in business administration on his resume.
Samsonite said Tainwala, who had served as the chief executive officer since 2014, had resigned citing personal reasons. “While the Board notes that since the company’s Initial Public Offering in 2011, its disclosure of Ramesh’s educational background has been accurate, the Board also takes seriously the allegation that has been made about his academic credentials,” the company’s statement said. “In considering such resignation, the Board thoroughly reviewed the facts related to this allegation and has determined that accepting Ramesh’s resignation is in the best interests of the company and its shareholders.” Samsonite’s Chief Financial Officer Kyle Gendreau will takeover as chief executive officer and managing director.
On May 24, the Blue Orca report said Tainwala had described himself as a doctor with a degree in business administration — despite never completing the programme. Blue Orca, which describes itself as an activist investment firm, acknowledged that Tainwala’s profile on the company website did not include the doctorate. Blue Orca did not comment on Tainwala’s resignation.
The Blue Orca report said that Tainwala’s “Dr.” designation was listed in at least two regulatory filings with the United States Securities and Exchange Commission more than 10 years ago and several regulatory documents in India.
Tainwala had played down the accusations and said that he had “never claimed” to hold a doctoral degree, The Wall Street Journal reported. The former Samsonite CEO said that while he had enrolled in a doctoral programme in 1992, he had not completed it. Tainwala said his friends and colleagues jokingly addressed him as “doctor” after he enrolled.