The South Asian Times

21 May 2019 16:28 PM

Samsonite CEO Ramesh Tainwala steps down after credentials questioned

By Associated Press

New York: Luggage maker Samsonite said June 1 its CEO has stepped down following a report by a short-seller questioning his credentials and the company’s accounting.

Ramesh Tainwala resigned for personal reasons, which Samsonite’s board decided was in the best interests of the company and its shareholders, the company said in a statement to the Hong Kong stock exchange.

A research report issued by short-seller Blue Orca a week earlier said the Indian American executive had falsely claimed on his resume that he earned a doctorate in business administration from Union Institute and University in Cincinnati, Ohio.

Samsonite, headquartered in Mansfield, Mass., said its board took the allegations seriously but added it had accurately disclosed Tainwala’s educational background since it went public in Hong Kong in 2011. The company’s latest annual report did not refer to him as a “Dr.” but Blue Orca said it found such references in U.S. filings dating from before the company was delisted from U.S. trading more than a decade ago, in Indian filings and during one earnings call with analysts after its Hong Kong IPO.

Tainwala, 58, became CEO in 2014. He joined the company in 1995, after working in India’s plastics industry. He has a master’s degree in management from the Birla Institute of Technology and Science. Tianwala will be replaced by Samsonite chief financial officer Kyle Gendreau.

According to, Blue Orca said its investigations found he had enrolled in but never completed his doctorate program.

Tainwala subsequently told The Wall Street Journal that he "never claimed" to hold a doctoral degree. He said that friends and colleagues referred to him as "doctor" as a joke, knowing that he had not completed his doctoral studies.

Update: 07 June, 2018