Samsonite CEO Ramesh Tainwala Is Out After Being Accused of Padding His Resume

Samsonite CEO Ramesh Tainwala Interview
Ramesh Tainwala, chief executive officer of Samsonite International SA, pauses during an interview in Hong Kong, China, on Thursday, March 16, 2017. Samsonite said it expects its luxury travel products brand, Tumi Holdings Inc. to double sales to $1 billion as the worlds largest luggage maker pushes the newly-acquired company into the global market with new, lightweight products. Photographer: Calvin Sit/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Calvin Sit—Bloomberg via Getty Images

Samsonite CEO Ramesh Tainwala is out after allegations that he padded his resume.

The luggage maker said in a filing to the Hong Kong stock exchange Friday that its chief executive has resigned, effective immediately. CFO Kyle Gendreau will replace him as CEO.

While Tainwala cited “personal reasons” for stepping down, according to Samsonite (SMSOF), the resignation follows a report that Tainwala had falsified his academic credentials. Last week, short-selling activist fund Blue Orca accused Tainwala of claiming to have a doctorate in business administration.

Samsonite said that its board had “thoroughly reviewed the facts” surrounding the allegation and noted that Tainwala’s resignation was “in the best interests of the company and its shareholders.”

The company also issued a nine-page rebuttal to the other allegations leveled by Blue Orca, including accounting lapses and poor corporate governance. Samsonite called the allegations “one-sided and misleading.”

Following Blue Orca’s accusations, Tainwala had told The Wall Street Journal that he did not have a doctorate and reportedly asked colleagues not to refer to him as “Dr.”

Tainwala claims to have enrolled in a PhD program in 1992, which he never completed. He told WSJ that he “always felt embarrassed about it.” Nevertheless, WSJ reports that the “Dr.” designation was “included in at least two regulatory filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission more than a decade ago and some regulatory filings in India.”

Following news of Tainwala’s resignation, Samsonite’s shares jumped 12%, but remain down more than 10% since Blue Orca’s report.

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