February 12, 2009
To Elba with Them All
No one who watched yesterday’s performance by the reigning geniuses of Wall Street will argue with number three on this list, from management consultant Tom Peters via Nicholas D. Kristof:
(1) I support the Obama pay cap for CEOs of companies on the dole.
(2) My choice would be to cap them at the rate of a 4-star general or admiral, with max seniority.
(3) If you sent all Fortune 500 CEOs and their #2s to St. Elba, performance of their companies would not on average deteriorate. The “myth of the irreplaceable CEO” is just that — myth.
Posted by Jerome Doolittle at February 12, 2009 11:09 AM
Peters can be a joy to listen to despite his smug know it all attitude, which perhaps for someone in his business, is necessary. He throws out ideas at the rapidity of a machine gun. He reminds me of my father who was similarly cursed or blessed with a head full of ideas tied to his tongue. When the Reagan layoffs were in full swing in the 80's, my father stayed on at his company and was required to go to every upper management meeting they had. He wasn't a decision maker but just the talker they put in a corner of the room to spout ideas in machine gun like fashion. Many of them stuck or were repeated by others at later meetings in more "refined" fashion. He was so tired of all the traveling required that he was glad to retire when they finally let him go, but he did get the full benefit package that others who left before him didn't.
Obama would do well to put Peters in the cabinet as a jester of some sort, somewhere at the side of a room and let him talk. His ideas are often golden, sometimes silly, but always fun, although he was too much a part of the corporate downsizing crowd in the 80's and 90's and probably had more influence then than was helpful. But change is what we need now. Peters was just a little too influential early in the game.
But Elba is too nice. What's the name of the island that the book Papillon was set in. That seems more appropriate.
I watched the whole thing and dreamed that a paddy wagon rolled up outside the Capitol and they were all taken immediately to jail where they would be kept for the rest of their lives. Then all of their fellows on Wall Street would be rounded up and taken to jail too. No trial, no nothing. Simply justice.
Devil's Island, wasn't it, Buck? But if that's where they made the movie, that's too nice. What about St. Helena, where they sent Napoleon after he escaped from Elba? It's a speck in the South Atlantic.
And Bill, the Bush years are over; no more of this no trial stuff. Of course, we could just suggest they might want to go on an extended South Atlantic vacation, if they know what's good for them.