Ram Kumar, 33, the report’s author, had told Rockville, Maryland-based Institutional Shareholder Services (ISS), which advises shareholders on corporate voting issues, that he graduated from the University of Southern California law school, according to Reuters.
But about two hours after his employers read an article in SmartMoney Magazine saying that he had dropped out without graduating, Kumar, a 4-year veteran at ISS and senior analyst, was out of a job, according to the report.
However, that didn’t affect the stance taken by ISS on the contentious merger. ISS says it still stands by its support for the $18.7 billion acquisition (see Institutional Investors Take Sides in H-P/Compaq Package ). The March shareholder vote favored the acquisition by a margin of just 2.8% (see H-P Claims Victory (Again) in Shareholder Tally ).
“He did not have the degree. We verified that with the university,” ISS spokesman Patrick McGurn said, according to the Reuters report. “He was given an option to resign or to be terminated, and he elected to submit a letter of resignation,” McGurn said.
Kumar penned a closely watched report that backed HP’s proposal to acquire Compaq in the largest-ever merger in the technology sector, measured by revenue.
“Ram was the lead analyst, handled setting the meetings and drafted the original report, but it was an organizational decision and it was an organizational position that we still stand behind today,” McGurn said of the decision on HP.