Empire Of The Ring - LightNovelsOnl.com
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It was a huge enterprise that manufactured industrial electric motor. With Denmark's technology, it would not be too hard to find markets for exportation.
"It's a company we founded in the '60s, and our technology is solid. The problem is that the crown princess' brother is rumored to be a layperson in business. He's only interested in high society and has neglected to invest in research and development. As a result, the company's turned into this."
"The crown prince has no choice but to fund it. The company's got an incompetent man managing it only because he's the crown princess' brother. He must have been only focusing on making it look good from the outside without investing in R&D, no wonder why it's failing."
"I think so. The Prince's will is a problem. The company might have a chance if he leaves us in charge of its management, but for now, its future doesn't seem so bright."
Since he neglected research and development, many research workers must have left the country. The company would close down within a few years since it would only depend on its old technology. There was no answer unless the chief executive was changed.
Youngho was impressed by Szechenyi's diagnosis of the company. He looked like a different person now. He seemed more confident and bold in what he believed and said compared to before. For Youngho, such a change was quite gratifying. Now that he was going to be a brother-in-law with the crown prince and the status of the autonomous state was raised, Szechenyi seemed to have gained more confidence. After the coronation, the media covered Kazakhstan's Arirang Autonomous State for a while, and now he was not so envious of the Danish royal family.
Worrying that Szechenyi might get too c.o.c.ky, Youngho said a word,
"Our state will change a lot in the next ten years. No one will be able to ignore our state. So, we need to keep a low profile until then, that doesn't mean we're quite as dead. I'm saying you need to give the impression that you're worthy of being a partner, not a target of vigilance."
"I understand what you mean. I've got that much idea. I want to surprise the world when Leon grows up and becomes the Archduke."
Szechenyi had more ambition than Youngho. He did not want just a well-off state, but a state that commanded the world.
"Hey, you're not trying to take another country's territory, are you?"
"What kind of a child am I, hyung? I just want to build our state's reputation. I'll have to make some money first, right?"
"You always say what I want to hear. How are you going to make money?"
"First of all, I'll offer to manage the crown princess' brother's company. If the prince is stubborn, I might address the issue directly to the queen. The Queen's not going to stand still when the palace's property is being wasted in vain."
"You might only make it worse by doing that. Hold that thought, I'm going to step up and make a strong appeal first. Maybe no one's ever been able to give a direct word to the Crown Prince."
"I'm sure everyone had been keeping their mouth shut rather than directly pointing out the princess' brother's faults, fearing that they might get disadvantaged from it."
"The prince owes me a favor, so I'll try to persuade him. If the Crown Princess intervenes, this might all go to waste. It won't be too late for you to step up then."
"I'm going to tell this to Isabella beforehand, too. She also has an inheritance from the Danish royal family too."
The prince, who put out a big fire because of Youngho's help, looked much brighter than the last time. The money from the bond sale was deposited into his personal account, which made him feel confident.
"Thanks to you, I can sleep with my legs straight. I asked a busy man to come, but I think I didn't treat you well. How can I express my grat.i.tude?"
"It was definitely something I needed to help. If people below you know, it will only make a lot of rumors."
"Have you learned anything about the company my brother-in-law runs?"
"I can't possibly evaluate a company so huge just by looking at it from outside for a few days."
"I'm just frustrated because I don't have expertise in running a business. I'm worried because the amount of the company's exports is decreasing."
"In my opinion, the company should increase its research and development costs to improve its employees' technical skills. Otherwise, it won't have compet.i.tiveness against other countries that aggressively invest in R&D."
"What are you saying? The company's technology is the best in the world."
"Is that so? Then it must be a false rumor that the company's products are losing out on Chinese products."
Youngho indirectly delivered his message since he did not want to risk pointing out the poor management of the company. If he could not get what Youngho meant, he would be hopeless. Youngho did not care since the electric motor company was not that attractive to him either.
"I heard that the company's only been focusing on expanding overseas plants rather than research and development these days. It's not good news to be rumored like that."
"No one told me about that. Does it make sense for the company with so many professional managers to make such bad judgment?"
"I heard it from the stock market, so I can't guarantee its credibility. However, isn't the fact that a lot of talented people have left the company proof that we can't expect the company to improve? That's all I've heard."
Youngho was not going to share anymore. It was up to the crown prince to decide now.
"Prince consort, please be honest with me. I don't live with my ears covered."
"It has something to do with the crown princess. We're going to be family-in-law soon, so I'd like to be careful in what I say. I'm afraid the crown princess might get upset with me."
"I'll keep it a secret between you and me."
"Then I'll tell you what I truly feel. I think you need to change the CEO first. So are the managers who are only interested in saving their faces. If left unchecked, within a few years, once a blue-chip company will end up as an ordinary company that maintains nothing but prestige. If you don't want to miss out on those researchers and technicians, replacing incompetent executives is a priority right now."
"It will not be just the collapse of the electric motor company, it will be a huge national loss. The royal family won't be able to escape the blame."
"Ha… I see. It's all about my brother-in-law."
"It's not only him, but it's also the people working under him too. It seems that no one talked straight to him because of his position and power as the brother of the crown princess. They're mere thieves who get paid for nothing."
Youngho had no choice but to talk honestly. It was quite rude of him to say it like that, but it was the truth. The prince asked for a diagnosis of the company, and if he did not come clean, he would blame Youngho later when the company failed for not speaking the truth. This would also affect Szechenyi's relations.h.i.+p to his family-in-law.
The dice had already been thrown.
"If it's difficult to change the CEO right now, let's put Szechenyi in the management team. His position as Princess Isabella's husband would not be imposing to the crown princess' brother. If it is difficult for you to fire your brother-in-law immediately because of his relation to you, you could opt out for a gradual resignation. Then your brother-in-law will be able to have an honorable retreat."
"I should. Thank you for speaking candidly about a sensitive issue."
"I will help you directly or indirectly. It's a shame that Denmark's flags.h.i.+p company becomes an ordinary company."
"Prince consort, the question is, is there any reasonable way to persuade my wife?"
"What a tricky problem. If he steps down from the management line, she will misunderstand that Szechenyi and Princess Isabella are the cause."
"I can never let the royal family members go against each other."
"There won't be any trouble. I have found about your brother-in-law's corruption. Would you like to hear it?"
After Copenhagen's work, Youngho hurried back to Baku with Suh Min-seok.
It was because the annual grape festival at Zeynep Farm was being held at the moment. The grape picking event was now eight years old. It started out as a small event for people to pick the grapes that were left by harvester machines, but as Zeynep brought her friends from the city's international school, it got bigger. International school children, parents, and Koreans living in Baku came to the festival every year to pick grapes for their own and have fun.
The owner of such an important event could not be left out, so Fatima and the children had returned to the mansion of the farm. Since the children who used to skip cla.s.ses under the pretext of the coronation, they were sad to come back to Baku. Sure enough, when Youngho appeared, the kids asked him if they could attend school in the autonomous state.
In the state, people treated Jelyan and Rena as princesses, but they were just normal kids in the international school. They loved the privilege that they got when they were in the state.
"Honey, what do we do? They say they prefer the autonomous state's school than the school there. Also, Lord Niksic said that there's going to be a problem if the palace will be vacated for months."
"Really? I think it's okay to stay in Baku for vacation and go to school in the state. I guess you were flattered by the way everyone treated you."
"What about Leon?"
"He's having fun anywhere he goes."
"I'm sure the kids at the international school will be disappointed."
"I'll be back during the grape harvest season and summer."
A large reservoir that became a swimming pool in summer and transformed into a skating rink in winter was in Zeynep Farm, which was more attractive than anything in the city. The kids at the international school would not be too sad if the reservoir would still be open to them. For foreigners living in Baku, Zeynep Farm was a great outlet.
"You decide on your own."
"Well, I'll transfer the children."
"The international school will not like to hear that."
The school had gotten famous since the Archd.u.c.h.ess' children attended it.
It was like a certified check that the school was good enough to educate the children of the old Serbian Kingdom's royal family, but now the school's administration team would be sad to hear that the children would be leaving all of a sudden, especially when there was a lot of benefits that the school received because of Youngho.
Since Youngho was in Baku, he requested a meeting with Sevan, who now became the Commissioner-General of the Main Police Department to find out about Nikolay's farm site. He had to set a time schedule because Sevan was now the busiest person in the department. Being the commissioner general was entirely Youngho's influence, but it was an open secret in Baku's officialdom.
"Oh, prince consort. I should've visited you first."
"Please don't call me that. I don't feel comfortable."
"What do you mean? It's natural for you to be treated like this in Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan. I'm so happy that the Duke of the state of Arirang backs me up. This position will remain unchanged as long as you're in power."
"Oh, let's talk about you. You've now become the commissioner general. It's so hard to see your face now."
"Prince consort. Please visit the police department at your convenience. That way, my position will be strengthened."
"Really? Then I'll be here often."
Youngho listened to Azerbaijan's internal affairs from Sevan. He looked for any useful information, but there was nothing special about the recent economic boom that caused prices to go up further. Real estate prices were also fluctuating as more dollars were circulating in the country.
"Commissioner-General, I know a Russian businessman who'd like to invest in Baku. Could you help me?"
"Foreign investment is always welcome. I'm sure he's interested in real estate."
"He's interested in buildings in downtown Baku, and I think he's planning to settle down. There are still many hilly areas near Zeynep Farm that could be developed, could you find an area that's about 500 acres for him?"
"That's no problem. Even though the prices of state property have gone up a bit these days, 500 acres will not be too much of a burden. The problem is that the price's of buildings in the city have gone up too much."
"I think he can buy a building or two since he's quite rich. Please find me a trusted broker."
"Now I have a way to repay you, prince consort. I'll go through a few brokers and find out the right place."
"He hasn't made up his mind yet, but I'll bring him one day to look over the area. I'll introduce him, so you could get acquainted with him too. Please help each other."
"It's a great honor for me to make a connection with a Russian businessman."
Introducing Nikolay to the commissioner general of the Main Police Department of Azerbaijan would cement his idea of investing in Baku.
Being close to the powerful, regardless of Caucasus, Russia, and Central Asia, had been an opportunity to make more money and strengthen one's position to anyone. If he had a chance later, Youngho also wanted to introduce him to President Aliyev. Baku's farms and ranch were also as important as the Arirang Autonomous State. Baku was his last bastion. Azerbaijan would become stronger and reputable when more foreign investors flocked to the country.