A former boss at a company I had worked at some years prior asked me to join him at a new (much bigger) firm running a team different from the team he was on. Critically, I wouldn't be reporting to my former boss (in hindsight, that's something I should have insisted on at the time). My reporting line boss was some due seconded from the London branch, and he was a raging a$$hole - at times I thought he might be mentally unhinged, an alcoholic, on drugs or possibly all three, but now I just think he was a raging a$$hole. I spoke to my former boss a few times, but because my reporting line was was technically of higher rank (and not a local hire), his hands were a bit tied at the time. I also spoke discretely to HR, but was told that it would take time to 'resolve the situation'. After 10 months, I got fed up and submitted my notice.
Four months after that, Raging A$$hole was sent back to London. Two weeks after that, my former boss called and asked if I'd be interested in a) coming back to work b) in the London office c) running the global team Raging A$$hole was now running. I told him I was.
About two months after that I arrived at the London office on a bright, sunny Monday morning. I sat and filled out paperwork for my secondment while in the room next door, Raging A$$hole was being fired. 30 minutes later I walked upstairs and took over his office and his team. I worked at that company in London for almost 10 years; my wife (whom I met during the initial 10 months) and I arrived in London as just the two of us, we came back last summer with two kids and a dog.
> In Europe it is nearly impossible to fire someone
Indeed. And if you try, it can get pretty expensive. After almost 10 years at the company discussed above, I was headhunted to work at another company in London. My local team was fantastic, senior management at this branch was not. After I went to global HR to report numerous very serious major ethical and possibly criminal problems, the London branch tried to make me redundant. Here's the fun little part about that in London - you can try to make someone redundant, in general it means you can't really hire someone else for that role for a while (usually at least six months, maybe up to a year). You can't say 'oh, we fired that person due to cost-cutting' and then hire some one else the next day doing the same job.
Long-story short - HR tried to make my role redundant while trying to hire someone else to fill my role. Said person knew what was going on and told me. My lawyer had a field day and I walked away with six month's paid vacation and a package worth three years' expat package. When my wife and I moved back after the sordid episode, I paid cash for my house.