I've been working at the same company for 8 years. Initially I started as a junior manager and reported to the General Manager of the department. The General Manager left as he became bored and complacent, this reflected in his performance.

A year after his departure I was promoted to the General Manager position. I have done this successfully for three years. A junior manager has resigned and the owner is insisting that his friend come back on board as the junior manager's replacement, reporting to me.

The friend is qualified but my concerns are, the owner got complacent and left the business in a state of disrepair, he was a yes-man while he was in the GM role, you can be certain any conversation you had with him was reported back to the owner of the business, he used to be my boss and mentor, his friendship with the owner I believe is a conflict of interest.

I have raised my concerns with the owner who has said he is not a threat and will only improve the business and solidify the management team. I think there may be an ulterior motive.

We mutually agreed that while his friend was a very good candidate that it is best that we go to market and see what are the candidates are out there. He assured me that he hasn't spoken to his friend and would see if he applied.

The job at was placed and applications started coming through. I received a phone call from the bosses friend saying that his wife saw the ad on seek and told him about it. he wanted to have a chat and and discuss the position. He inquired whether he could be considered for the position.

I was honest and said the CEO and I had discussed this and quite frankly it seems like a really easy and logical idea given his experience however I did say I've did have some issues that I need to discuss with him in person and we should catch up to discuss them the following day

The following day we got in touch with each other but weren't able to meet due to work commitments he was also going on leave for 4 days I asked him if he is interested in the position to please apply for the job through the job seek portal so that I could review every candidate they based on their experience and should there be any question from internal applicants I can show and equal process of evaluation.

I received no application from him, in my mind it was a test to see if he had changed and if he was willing to take direction from me. He failed

Upon review with the CEO one week later we began discussing the shortlist and the subject of his friend came up. I told the CEO that I hadn't received an application and that I did discuss the position and my feelings in more detail with his friend but we weren't able to meet up due to an opposing work commitments.

The CEO and then quickly turned and said I was being extremely arrogant and and I had upset his friend who did not feel as though he was welcome or even going to be considered as a candidate and that I was out of line.

I responded to this with surprise as I have known his friend for 6 years and feel that he should have been able to tell me this straight up.

I told the CEO I was going to call him apologize and explain that I did not mean to make him feel that way. Despite my reservations and concerns about bringing him back I will always respect his friend because he mentored me and without him I would not be in the position where I am today. The CEO agreed the call was good idea.

When I called his friend and apologized his friend was surprised. In frustration he said to me fuck it I'm going to level with you because I can't play games and if we are going to maybe work together we need to be on the same page.

He told me the CEO contacted him and said he wanted him back in the role before it was advertised, the friend asked about me and my feelings about it and the CEO said it was a sensitive issue and not to worry he will handle it. He apologised for lying to me in the first instance and we chatted for an hour and aired a few concerns we both had. The conversation ended with the friend telling me that he will only come back if I was 100% behind him and if I wanted him back because he believes the position I'm in is difficult and would not want it to be done to him.

Now I'm in a position where the CEO has directly lied to me and by communicating with his friend and orchestrating this whole thing has proven my initial concerns about those 2 were real.

The friend claims the CEO has done it because he values me and doesn't want to ram this down my throat, I just feel disrespect and quite frankly think I deserve better.

Most of the advice from my senior colleagues outside the business is for me to suck it up, swallow it and embrace the situation and move on. Because any other reaction would be immature and detrimental to my future.

I'm not sure what to do as I feel I need to get all of this out in the open and make sure I'm on the same page with the CEO. I've never been a yes-man or kissass and the CEO and I usually speak freely and have constructive discussions.

Any thoughts?

  • 1
    At this point are you able to be "100% behind him"? If not then being open with this guy is important because that is a deal breaker.
    – Myles
    Dec 22, 2016 at 14:05
  • 11
    This question really needs to be edited down. Right now it's just a too-long wall of text.
    – David K
    Dec 22, 2016 at 14:23
  • 3
    Didnt you already ask this? workplace.stackexchange.com/questions/81224/…
    – user34687
    Dec 22, 2016 at 15:37
  • There's more to the story now and I couldn't add
    – Johnnyd
    Dec 22, 2016 at 15:48
  • You sound scared for your job more than really concerned about the "conflict of interest". Which, by the way, it is not.
    – Andieisme
    Dec 22, 2016 at 16:36

2 Answers 2


I was honest and said the CEO and I had discussed this and quite frankly it seems like a really easy and logical idea given his experience however I did say I've did have some issues that I need to discuss with him in person and we should catch up to discuss them the following day

I think in this instance, I would have said here "Yes of course you would be strongly considered with your background. Apply through the JobSeek portal and we will setup an interview." By saying you have concerns, before he has even applied, has maybe in his mind indicated that he has no chance. With the history of his relationship with the CEO, it was fairly clear that they would talk.

I know this isn't the main area of concern, but thought I would note it as it may come up again.

Regarding the ex-employee:

I think you shoud tell him to apply. He is clearly qualified for the job. Tell him that in the interview that you two can go through any concerns/issues etc. Interviewing ex-employees is always going to be different to interviewing a new candidate, give yourself the time to properly prepare and struture the interview, so you can make an informed decision.

Regarding the CEO:

You have three options in my opinion:

  1. Find a new job. If you think that the trust between you two is gone, then it puts you in a weak and tough position. You'll get to a point where you either feel you have to employ the ex-employee back, or you'll choose someone else and be overruled by the CEO. Or if not, this will always be a stick to be beaten with. Imagine if your choice didn't work out for whatever reason?

  2. Suck it up Hire the ex-employee. He may not be the best candidate, but it gets you brownie points. If he doesn't do well, it doesn't necessarily reflect badly on you. Of course the ex-employee has a direct line to the CEO which could cause you problems, but keep him sweet and it may pay dividends for you too.

  3. Confront the CEO This is the more dangerous option. Go to the CEO and say you don't appreciate the process being meddled with. State that you have the skills required to pick a suitable person for the role and that you will treat all applications to the role equally.

I suppose a lot depends on the CEO. Is he just trying to help a friend out and has maybe behaved in a not normal way? You say you and the CEO before have had frank and open discussions without issue? How do you think he will react if you choose not to employ ex-employee? How do you react if ex-employee is the best candidate?

We can't make these decisions for you. Hopefully my answer adds a bit of clarity in terms of your options. or at least gives you other things you need to consider before making a decision.


This does not sound like a good place for you. If the CEO lies to you once, what will stop him from lying again? You have had an intelligent converstation about this with the CEO already, and he lied. You won't get anywhere IMHO calling out the CEO for lying to you. Leave it alone and strongly consider looking for a new position. Its time to move on.

In the meantime, my other concern if I were you would be what are the CEO's real motives? If the person coming back is a friend of the CEO, I would be concerned that your position is at risk.

This Forbes article is a good read on this situation. Forbes Boss is a liar

But finding out your boss lies takes a strained employee-manager relationship to another level. Once that trust is eroded, it becomes hard to follow your boss’ direction, wondering if he or she is taking you down the right path or leading you astray. Everything that comes out of his or her mouth becomes questionable—information about the company’s status, promises of raises or new projects, and even affirmation for your good work suddenly seems questionable. And that makes it extremely difficult to do your job effectively.

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