乔治•齐默被The Men's Wearhouse公司扫地出门了！全美国似乎都听到了这个令人震惊的消息。乔治•齐默在供职于这家男装零售商的40年里曾无数次在电视广告中信誓旦旦地保证，客户一定会喜欢他们的样子。
此后，The Men's Wearhouse持续成为新闻主角。这家公司先是收购了另一个男装品牌艾堡德(Joseph Abboud)。10月份，规模较小的竞争对手Jos. A. Bank出价23亿美元，对它提出收购要约。这项提议遭到拒绝，The Men's Wearhouse公司转而实施所谓的反噬防御策略，打算以15.4亿美元的价格收购Jos. A. Bank。
12月初，齐默接受了《财富》杂志的电话专访，以下是经过编辑的交谈记录。在这次交谈中，他坦率地回顾了这次解雇事件，他对Jos. A. Bank合并交易的看法，以及为什么他现在似乎比任何时候都更受欢迎。
《财富》：你是如何获悉The Men's Wearhouse打算不再聘请你担任执行董事长？
It was the firing heard around America. George Zimmer was out at The Men's Wearhouse (MW), after 40 years and countless television ads in which he guaranteed that customers would like the way they look.
The company's initial termination announcement was terse and without explanation, sparking social media outrage among some customers and fans. It then provided a more detailed explanation, essentially alleging that Zimmer was unable to accept that he was no longer CEO of the company he founded -- Zimmer handed the reins over to Doug Ewert in 2011, but remained executive chairman -- and alleged that he had been working to take the company private. Zimmer hired a PR firm and responded in a blistering public letter.
Since then, The Men's Wearhouse has continued to be in the news. First for buying Joseph Abboud, and then when smaller rival Jos. A. Bank (JOSB) offered in early October to acquire the company for $2.3 billion. That offer was rebuffed, with The Men's Wearhouse then offering to buy Jos. A. Bank for $1.54 billion, in a so-called Pac-Man defense.
But Zimmer went silent. He took that PR firm off retainer and has not made any public comments about his firing or future since June. Until now.
What follows is an edited transcript of a phone conversation, held with Zimmer last Thursday. In it, he discusses his termination, his thoughts on a Jos. A. Bank merger, and why he seems more popular now than ever before:
FORTUNE: How did you learn that The Men's Wearhouse was planning to fire you as executive chairman?
ZIMMER: I got an email about 10 days earlier, which was extremely harsh and mean-spirited. It said that my job status and compensation would remain the same "at this time." Then they basically began throwing me out of my office, and that was as traumatic as when I was actually terminated because, at that point, it was pretty clear what was happening.
We had a scheduled board meeting on a Tuesday followed by a scheduled shareholder meeting on the Wednesday, so I checked into the hotel on Monday evening. A couple of directors came to see me individually to explain what was happening the next day. I wasn't being summarily discharged, but instead they offered me a figurehead position, with fair compensation. But I elected not to work for people who I had originally hired to work at the company, who now just wanted me in that sort of role. So I declined.
I was going to be reelected director at the annual shareholder meeting the next day, because the proxies had already been out for weeks. So they then said that they wanted me to resign as director as well as be terminated as an employee, and if not they'd postpone the shareholder meeting, which is what they did. Then they sent out new proxies in which I wasn't nominated ...
When I was terminated I got no severance. They even took my phone and cut off my insurance.