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Divesting the Portfolio

Posted on Monday May 20, 2019 @ 3:48pm by Phillip Sharpe & Abigail "Abi" Hunter-Nolan

Mission: LINK
Location: Phil Sharpe's Personal Office, Commercial District
Timeline: MD-01 Late Evening

The one advantage to having a cop as a wife was that she worked just as much unsociable hours as he did as a business magnate. As a result, it wasn’t likely to cause a rift in their home-life if he didn’t get home until late, or stayed overnight at the office, because there was a good chance that Annie herself would be later home if she came home at all. This was particularly true if she was working a big case, whereupon Joey would see more of his wife than he did.

You’d think there’d be cause for jealousy with the fact that Annie was spending a lot of time, including nights away, with another man. But the same argument could be applied to Annie on his account, since he spent an inordinate amount of time with his personal assistant, Tanya, who was an exceptionally attractive human female in her early twenties. Unlike with other executives however, Phil had most certainly not hired her for her looks. Despite only being twenty three, she already had a university degree in business management, and had a keen analytical and fastidiously organised mind. In fact, his own office ran so much more efficiently as a result of Tanya’s work than anyone else he’d ever worked with. The fact that she was a 5’10” leggy blonde with what she referred to as ‘curves in all the right places’ simply was a casual afterthought. In fact, Tanya herself used her looks to disarm people who would be meeting with Phil, offer a distraction. Phil had been careful to not only introduce Tanya to Annie very soon after hiring her, but making sure she knew that Annie was armed and knew how to hide a body. It had all been a funny joke.

But alas, it was looking like it was going to be another late night for Phil. This was mitigated somewhat by the fact that Annie was likely doing a late night shift of her own in preparation for a big political event taking place on the station in a few weeks. He’d been informed by the Managing Director of DS7 Properties Inc that FPD had requested all files on leaseholders and tenants for all properties on the station. Considering that his company controlled every freehold on the station that was a big list. He’d initially been surprised, since he’d made it a point that the PD had ready access to basic information on who the tenants and leaseholders were for all public space properties on the station, but it appeared they’d wanted more information than the normal information pull.

Given that Phil was Chairman of the company, he’d come down to the MD’s office to discuss it, and they’d agreed to bat the thing over to the Chief Legal Officer to handle. After all, it was an information request by law enforcement, but because it was beyond the normal scope of what the standard contract of sharing of information covered, there was the potential of a legal issue with regards to data protection. Whilst Phil would do nothing to hinder the FPD, he had to make sure there was a solid legal basis to provide information above and beyond what they already contractually were obligated to provide. He only hoped no one would be stupid or desperate enough to try and get Annie to request it via her husband – because that’d end badly for whoever asked her.

At the very least, the headache over the properties damaged during the Patron saga had been sorted out. The insurance company had agreed to pay out for sixty percent of the damage, with Starfleet footing thirty percent, and DS7 Properties covering the last ten percent. It could’ve been better, but since the damage had occurred during a Starfleet military operation, the insurance firm had originally tried to wiggle out of liability. In the end, it had worked itself out, and the tenants themselves weren’t out of pocket. There was a contingency fund for such repairs, and the work had been carried out promptly.

What was occupying Phil’s work tonight was the efforts involved to wind down his active involvement in management of all the various companies he was running. He’d done this previously, and had appointed a myriad of Managing Directors and CEO’s of all his various holdings, but the more recent set-ups hadn’t had this treatment. Plus, as Chairman of the board of all his businesses, he did have a legal requirement to attend board meetings at least once a month. Since he held that position in all of his businesses that was very time consuming. He felt it was important that he at least maintain control over all the companies that bore his name, but that did involve an awful lot of effort on his part. The board meetings alone for twenty one companies would be tiring, but there were the other meetings and other things he needed to do as a corporate chairman.

With his and Annie’s newborns on the way, they’d had a very serious discussion about their futures. Both he and Annie had full on jobs, and neither were particularly keen to give them up. However, after some discussion, neither were all that keen to just leave them to nannies to be brought up either. It was a very cold way to raise children, and lacked the parental warmth Phil was determined to have his children experience. Annie felt exactly the same way, which really helped the conversation along, but still presented the problem of how to achieve this, with Annie’s very demanding job and his own. There was no way Annie was going to stop being a cop, and she’d eventually resent having to give it up. Phil had proposed that rather than Annie give up her career, he simply take measures to give himself more free time for the children. That way, they’d at least have their father around virtually full-time, and Phil had no doubt that after maternity leave, Annie would make as much of an effort to be around for her babies as possible.

Fortunately, most of the day-to-day operational management was divested into the Chief Executive Officers of the really big firms, leaving him with mostly figurehead Chairman status. That was fine with him, as the Presidents and CEO’s would submit reports to him, or inform him of significant issues. It was the smaller holdings that required more hands-on, like the DS7 Properties company, mostly because he lived and worked in close proximity to its offices. Since setting up the DS7 enterprise, he’d diversified into other real-estate ventures, and had been putting off sorting out the Real-Estate stuff for some time. Well, now that he needed more free time, that needed addressing.

He had an interview with someone, and they’d asked for it to be held at 2100. She was a recent arrival to Deep Space Seven, but had seen that he’d been recruiting for a Real-Estate Director for Sharpe Holdings – basically someone who would manage his ever increasing real-estate portfolio and all the subsequent property management companies as well. He’d been reviewing her CV, and he was quite surprised that she had absolutely no experience in this field whatsoever, but was in fact a biologist.

After reviewing the evening financial report, which showed that the Ferengi ISK index was down six points, but that the Orion EC index was trading up two points, he decided that he’d never really understand the stock market. He was pleased that the share value of Sharpe Investments had gone up by point three percent, and was going to review the company’s recent actions when Tanya messaged him to let him know that his interviewee had arrived.

After agreeing for her to come in, he watched through the glass doors as Tanya escorted a red haired woman, impeccably dressed in a white blouse and black pencil skirt and black heeled shoes, walked into the room. He offered a smile and walked across the large office space and offered his hand. “Mrs Hunter-Nolan, thank you so much for coming.”

She smiled and offered her own hand. “It’s my pleasure, Mister Sharpe. Thank you for agreeing to see me.”

Phil gestured to the brown leather sofas that formed a horse-shoe shape over to the left side of the office, around a mahogany coffee table. A silver tray with white porcelain service was laid out on the table. Phil took a seat on one of the sofa’s, and offered one opposite to his guest. Tanya stepped out of the office and as she closed the doors, the glass wall and doors frosted over into an opaque white mist.

“Coffee?” Phil asked, as he attended to the service set on the coffee table.

“Please.” Abi replied, offering a smile. Phil poured out two small cups of coffee, and handed her over the saucer and cup set. “Cream and sugar are here.” He said, whilst pouring some cream into his own coffee, then using the small tongs to place a sugar cube in the drink. He sat back on the chair, stirring the coffee with a small spoon as he looked over at his guest.

“So, you’ve just come to Deep Space Seven. What brings you here?” Phil asked.

Stirring in some cream into her coffee, Abi looked up through her fringe as she answered him. “My wife was just transferred here, so we’re looking to settle down on the station. I’m looking for a job to occupy my time, and a friend suggested I consider this one.”

“It’s a far cry from what you’ve been doing before, Mrs Hunter-Nolan.” Phil said, looking at her seriously.

“Please, call me Abi.” She replied. “I’m aware my name is a tad of a mouthful. It’s what happens when two somewhat proud women get married and can’t agree on a name. I should also say that it’s Doctor Hunter-Nolan, if you want to be accurate.”

“I see.” Phil said, understanding at least the pride bit. Maintaining one’s identity in a marriage, which by its definition, was a merging of two souls, was something he himself had juggled with. Annie had wanted to maintain her own independence for a while at the start of their marriage, and he’d given her all the space she had asked for, whilst reminding her of his love. In the end, it had made them grow strong as a couple, and even now, Annie had a firm identity beyond being simply ‘Mrs Sharpe’. He’d loved her strong personality, and had never wanted her to fall into the role of ‘trophy wife’, which most of his peers viewed her as. Well, screw them, Phil had thought. So what if she was young and beautiful… damnit, his mind was wandering again.

“So, Abi, what makes you think you’d make a good Real-Estate Director?” Phil asked, then took a sip of his coffee. It was just the right temperature to not be too hot or cold. Tanya really knew how to make a brew.

It was a legitimate concern, since up until recently, she’d been an active biologist working on a starship on a research project into small animals. It did seem to be a somewhat drastic step in a different direction, especially into a field she knew very little about. “Well, as a biologist, I was responsible for coordinating my own research, as well as managing the fellows under me for their work. The way I see it, the lack of knowledge in real-estate itself isn’t the issue, I can learn that, and I learn quickly. What I bring to the job is my organisational skills, my strong personal ability to manage people, to be direct and to handle situations as they arise.” Abi replied, then took a sip of her own coffee.

Phil nodded, it was a good response, and it nullified his query about her previous role and inexperience in this role in one shot. “The role is to manage my umbrella company’s entire real-estate portfolio. That’s every single property and holding owned by Sharpe Holdings Inc. That includes all the new Property Management companies as part of the Sharpe Group, plus all the buildings that the other companies use and occupy, like the hotels, restaurants, resorts and the like. The Director would, in effect, be managing all of it. Obviously, each site has its own site-facilities, so you wouldn’t be handling blocked toilets or faulty replicators at the lowest level, but responsible for approving high-cost purchases, handling major contracts, managing the team who’d be helping you, as well as being responsible for approving building purchases, renovations and so forth. You’d be operating with a multi-billion credit budget, and answerable directly to me.”

Abi nodded. She hadn’t realised the full scope of the role, as it wasn’t in the job description she’d been given by her friend, but although it sounded daunting, it was probably not too bad.

Phil continued. “I should emphasise that our property portfolio is quite extensive, and I’ve been meaning to set up a division to manage this for quite some time. It’s a bit of a personal passion of mine, so you’ll find I’ll like to be involved more than you’d like. However, with recent changes coming up in my family life, I’d like more free time available. That means setting up the Real-Estate Division.”

“I understand.” Abi said, looking interested.

“Well, I’ll be brutally honest with you Abi.” Phil replied. “I have my reservations. You don’t have experience in Real-Estate directly, or in the kind of work you’d be looking to do. But you do have exceptionally strong oral skills, as demonstrated here, and your record as a scientist is very good.” He said. “I had my people do some investigation work into you, and there aren’t really any dark things for me to be concerned about. So – what I’m prepared to do, is offer you the role provisionally.”

Abi felt herself light up inside as Phil spoke. She’d gotten the job!

“You’ll be on a six month probation, whereby at any time, if either I or yourself feel the role is not for you, we can part ways amicably without notice. We’ll do monthly review sessions on your performance, beyond our regular contact on what you’re doing. At the moment, there is only three people who handle lower level stuff for Real-Estate, so we’ll be looking to expand that to thirty people based out of the office pool next door. Obviously, you’ll have your own office and you’ll pick your staff, but for your first few hires, I’ll do final review before hiring.”

Abi nodded. “Sounds agreeable.”

“You’ll start on two hundred and sixty thousand per annum to start, with pension, 30 days holiday, health benefits and a company personal craft. After you pass your probation, we’ll bump that up to three hundred thousand and 40 days holiday.” Phil explained.

That was more money than she’d ever seen in her life! At top whack as a biologist, she’d only ever taken home forty-five thousand a year. Alexia was only on forty-two as a junior captain. Her income was going to change their lives.

“I trust you are happy with the arrangements?” Phil asked.

“Yes, very.” Abi swallowed.

“Excellent.” Phil said, and pressed a button on a device in his pocket. A moment later, Tanya came into the room. “Tanya, could you take Doctor Hunter-Nolan out into the outer-office and sort out her contract and so forth. Details are in the provisional offer document on the shared drive.”

“Yes Mister Sharpe.” Tanya said, smoothly.

Phil rose from the sofa and Abi followed suit. They shook hands. “I look forward to working with you, Abi.”

“I do as well, Mister Sharpe.” Abi smiled graciously, and allowed herself to be led out of the office, a much happier woman than when she walked in.


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