December 9th, 2008
08:27 PM GMT
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I did an interview this week with a CNN regular, Sam Stovall, who said one of the main problems facing the markets and economy is a loss of confidence.

All smiles from Merrill Lynch CEO John Thain after the firm was taken over by Bank of America.
All smiles from Merrill Lynch CEO John Thain after the firm was taken over by Bank of America.

Investors can't make sense of the markets which swing wildly from day to day. Workers don't feel secure in their jobs. Families aren't sure how they are going to find the money for healthcare and education. There is a sense the system isn't working.

And yet, in the corner offices of corporations, it seems to be business as usual.

Auto executives are trying to hang on to their jobs and in some cases, multi-million dollar salaries, even as they beg for an 11th hour taxpayer lifeline.

Monday, John Thain, CEO of Merrill Lynch, gave up attempts to get a $10 million 2008 bonus, but only after unflattering media attention.

Tuesday Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac executives appeared in front of Congress and defended both their actions and payouts, despite the fact that the near collapse of both mortgage giants almost wiped out the U.S. housing market.

Another testy hearing that turned into little more than a public blame game.

It is no wonder why people have lost confidence and lost faith.

Where are all the good CEO's? Bosses who put their companies and their employees first.

Surely, there are hard working talented executives out there who can be held up as an example of what real corporate leadership is. Not the sorry symbols of greed and corruption that are in the spotlight now.

Do you know someone who fits the bill? A boss or a manager who is finding creative ways to survive and even thrive in these tough times? Write in and tell us their story. I, for one, could certainly use the inspiration.

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Filed under: BusinessUnited States


soundoff (81 Responses)
  1. DENNIS

    That is true; greed and denial in the corner office... what can be done to stop this behaviour....

    December 9, 2008 at 8:43 pm |
  2. George

    I for one could eventually be one of those good CEOs... BUT... to get there I have to start somewhere, yet I can't start if no one gives me a chance! Apparently hiring me is a threat to the filthy rich who believe hiring people means they can't buy that third Beverly Hills mansion or buy their 23rd BMW pimped out to the core.

    My point being that the powers that be block the good, qualified people from moving up. That in itself is NOT capitalism, but the tyranny of the filthy rich. If they are too powerful and block mobility of others working their butts off, then the Capitalist system is not operating the way it should and could.

    Instead of ultra radical conservatives hysterically crying out "socialism, you are an enemy of the USA!" maybe they should let the government sqweak the rules just a bit to make America run as it really should. The good and hard working should win, not the evil greedy beasts who stomp their competitors with their dirty tricks. The latter is what is happening now: be evil, you win.

    December 9, 2008 at 9:17 pm |
  3. ben

    All the good bosses have long gone cause the world's education system which once offered excellent standard of education has now become a paper mill forced to lower standards for the sake of money!!......Why is it that all the TOP Universities which educated many of today's CEOs have failed? Top Universities are also guilty of turning the education industry into a business"money making business"!!..So long gone are the good bosses.

    December 9, 2008 at 9:40 pm |
  4. annette

    In the USA you will not find good bosses. It is nothing but money in your country. Already when a child they talk money. In college youngsters are in stocks. it is nothing but consumism and you have exported that to the rest of the world as well as your horrible food.
    As well as the evangelicals of the midwest...
    Louzy is healthcare and the 35 million poor. So don´t say anything about other countries. Your cars are also warthless. They lost the first place years ago to the japs and europeans

    What is good in the USA? Dynamism and entrepreneurship!

    These salaries of bosses are totally out of weck. Ridiculous! Shameful!
    Don´t back them anymore neither the carbosses. In jail is where they belong all.

    December 9, 2008 at 9:42 pm |
  5. Ray

    Sad to say, the concept of true leadership, at least as a part of the manager's skill set in the corporate world, is a part of the romantic past of big-hearted business tycoons and barons. The talk in the old days was of hard men who put the company before themselves. Today that no longer applies.

    You hear stories of Top Execs like Carlos Ghosn, who killed their meeting schedules for days and weeks to work overtime with skilled engineers to turn Nissan around, .... personally! That's inspiring and daring and showing that you want to really lead from the front.

    I have nevertheless worked for some inspiring junior leaders and managers and haven't completely lost hope. What do skilled and dedicated administrators and support team members want out of their managers? Character and leadership! You don't need to make me the center of attention and give me all of the credit, you just need to stay (and work) with me and be honest.

    It seems like so many of these execs have spent so much time getting good at chasing the top, that once they got there they didn't know what to do or what it was about. This is very sad.

    December 9, 2008 at 9:47 pm |
  6. Hans

    I am the owner for a small company in nutritional supplements. My work is my hobby and the salary I took was 3000 a month! Now retired, I still work for the company – free of charge – to keep it going for my people. We are just a great family!
    Greetings from Austria,
    Hans

    December 9, 2008 at 9:51 pm |
  7. oreste assereto

    It seems that a possible fix of the problem is to limit the very high salaries of top executives . I could be related to the median income of the use , which is some 50000 dollars a year. Some of these salaries are over 1000 times the median. We should bring them down to a maximun of say 100 times. After all this executives are not risking their own money as a private owned enterprise. The same goes for celebryties

    December 9, 2008 at 9:57 pm |
  8. Keg

    Hi Maggie Lake

    Try Japan Airline's CEO for inspiration. He pay himself only US$90,000 for a start.

    Keg

    December 9, 2008 at 9:59 pm |
  9. Raj

    Remember the CEO of the Japanese company who took moral, ethical and unselfish responsibility of punishing himself (monetarily with pay and benefit cuts) because he had to lay off a number of his employees.

    We read of American CEOs accepting $1 as their annual salary but no one (even media) talks about the benefits they have (stock options, company paid car, aeroplane, dress suits, shoes, etc).

    December 9, 2008 at 10:35 pm |
  10. Raj

    We need leaders like the Japanese CEO who put the company and his employees before his desires.

    December 9, 2008 at 10:37 pm |
  11. RN Johnston

    Looking for a good boss? Think about Steve Jobs at Apple, who famously receives a $1/yr salary. Yes, he also receives other forms of compensation in options, etc, but most observers believe he is a great CEO who brings extraordinary value to the company, and furthermore to the technology sector in general.

    December 9, 2008 at 11:01 pm |
  12. Conal Garrity

    We need to *stop* doing business with these companies.

    December 9, 2008 at 11:50 pm |
  13. Haegar

    I live in Germany and am a self-employed senior management consultant. I get to see many globally operating companies from within and have gradually come to the conclusion that we have a fundamental problem with the qualification of the upper management. As the US model of management spreads around the world, more and more CEOs have not the slightest idea of the core business of their companies: their products. GM is my favorite example: Rick Wagoner has MBA degree, but he is not a technician, he does not understand the underlying technological challenges and potentials, and thus is unable to lead the company.

    My observation is that, from a certain level on, economists and lawyers dominate the management. I am not saying that management skills are irrelevant – but they are just the half of the story. The other half is understanding what your team is actually talking about. Technology-oriented companies, such as automotive and computer businesses, desperately need technically skilled top managers. The stories repeat themselves: every time a "pure" manager takes over a technology business, the results are severe. Think of what happened Novell, Apple, Dell etc. when "pure" MBAs was put in charge.

    MBA is not enough to make a good boss. It is just enough to give someone the ability to manipulate their subordinates with company slogans, perverse MBO systems and a smart rhetoric. We need passionate techies who learn MBA skills, not the other way around. I strongly believe that this makes a huge difference.

    December 9, 2008 at 11:55 pm |
  14. Ryan in OR

    Take a look at Ken Lewis, CEO of Bank of America. His risk averse management has kept BofA strong when most of the other banks are struggling. If he dove into subprime like the rest of the banking lemmings we would be in really big *#$% right now. The guy earns every penny he makes.

    December 10, 2008 at 12:23 am |
  15. Robert Brackney

    I can tell you how. It's easy. In 1982, when Mexico and, by extension, my company, Mexico's BUFETE INDUSTRIAL, were going through the worst crisis since the 1910 Revolution, this writer waived a 20% pay raise for the good of the company. One hand washes the other; two years later, when I had to leave the company on doctor's orders to get out of Mexico City, the company awarded me a very substantial "gratifi-cación especial" and I left with flags flying For many years after that, until they went under in 2002, they sent for me to do contract work.

    December 10, 2008 at 12:25 am |
  16. Randy Waterman

    Yes, I know someone who fits the bill. My boss. He really should be either in the Obama administration, or he would do well as the head of a number of companies, like GM or Ford or Chrysler perhaps. Why? He is a combination of visionary plus practical, not afraid to take risks, committed to his people, and he makes Sacrifices that it seems none of these Wall Streeters would ever think of doing. For instance, in a prior company, he poured out his own savings and paid his employees when the business partners reneged on a term sheet for investments. He gave up his salary and assets so that everyone would get what was their due pay. Now where do you find that in any of these investment banks or at AIG or GM? His name is Martin Dudziak and if people looked to the people who live by principle and honor, rather than to those who have grabbed and hoarded as much money as they can, then this whole country would be much better off.

    December 10, 2008 at 12:35 am |
  17. Rob

    I used to be in corporate and it was tough. 12-16 hours a day for year on end. Was making a substancial amount of money as Senior Management, but no where near as much as an executive. Had enough and felt it was well deserved.

    But when my father died and I looked withing, I found that time went buy, precious moments were lost and the money was not worth it.

    What kept me going was the people. To see your employees lives grow is great...until they burn you.

    Fact is, corporate life is tough and the competition is fierce. If you want to make your way up you are going to have scars and that's the problem.

    Your CEO's and Executives feel like it's owed. What's ridiculous amounts of money to the average person is nothing to them because they have not realized that you cannot put a money value to happieness.

    What they need to do is grow up and realize is that they are fortunate and that it's no longer about their personal gain, but about a time in their career when their colleagues and subordinates mattered. A time before they started to get shafted and had to put of defenses.

    The general public is hurting and it's time to give back.

    Unfortunately, like many of our powerful leaders...I don't see anyone giving up their pride for the people. It's become a game of power when it should be a time for humanity.

    So in a round about way...there are still good people out there with sufficient experience to run any company, but they probably quit corporate because they lost their soul

    Maybe HR needs to relook at their hiring policy during these dire times.

    December 10, 2008 at 1:05 am |
  18. Tim Hawkins

    I suggest that the food company CEO's would provide examples. Rick Lenny of Hershey is a good example. He is (was, as CEO – now chair) very hard working, focussed on relevant detail such as the daily performance of direct sales vans and not pompous. In addition to analytical, leadership etc skills.

    December 10, 2008 at 3:25 am |
  19. Will Walter

    Greed is a very deadly sin and it has corrupted governments and businesses. As a business owner, I am very customer and employee driven. My business will not succeed unless these people are satisfied. We give goals, strategies and objectives to be met and unless we work as a cohesive unit then failure will occur. Rewarding poor performance is irrational and destructive. Creativity and "thinking out of box" breeds success among employees and customers. This is the backbone of my business. Rewards for real performance has to be measured and accurate. The company works as a whole and should be rewarded as a team. Too many executives believe they deserve irrational compensation for good or bad performance. This breed of management should be changed by ownership.

    December 10, 2008 at 4:01 am |
  20. AnonymousMan

    I know several such bosses. One of them is my wife. She is not in the top tier of investment banking management (but has decent prospects of getting there).

    She has a sense of duty which puts the mission first and herself second. She dislikes when colleagues "sell themselves" to get promoted instead of focusing on getting the job done. As for the bonus, she has always seen it as a BONUS, not as a guarantee. As she sees it, she was given responsibilities and now she darned well better do the best she can to fulfill them. It's her duty. Anything else is less important, even keeping her own job. On many an occasion she has told a superior he or she is wrong, despite possible risk to her career. If it's right it's right. The bank is bigger than the people within it. She praises her subordinates when they do well, and defends them publicly when they do wrong. Then she gives them a good talking to. But not to vent, always to teach. How many bosses are real mentors nowadays, unafraid that the learner may one day become the master? The "flashy bosses" are often afraid of losing their jobs, and do their best to hoard knowledge and steal credit, a very bad thing for the company in the long run, not to mention morally reprehensible.

    Of course if you deliver on time and on budget (or better) consistently you'll tend to keep your job, and be on he short list for poaching.

    She has always worked on lowering costs, improving efficiency and developing the careers of good subordinates. She has never demanded a corner office (a desk on the floor will do nicely), a better cellphone, a better perks package or even business class travel (of course she hasn't turned them down when offered, but that's not quite the same thing). In other words she has always worked as if the times were hard, a habit which is standing her in good stead of late.

    My own anecdotal evidence suggests that her promotions, in the long run, have been about as fast as anyone else's. So much for sucking up to the boss.

    Why is she so different? I think her upbringing has a lot to do with it. She was never "destined for greatness". Her parents are "simple folk" who taught her fundamental values of right and wrong. Combined with very hard work, this can get you places. I have noticed that the "flashy bosses" are supremely convinced of their own greatness and unable to humbly take adversity. Bullies and bellowers who pat themselves on the back while their subordinates hate them behind their backs, or plan to backstab them at the next opportunity.

    How to fix the problem? I think a lot can be said for forcing managers out of their offices (heck, do away with offices altogether; Facebook's CEO has a desk like everyone else's), getting them down among the clerks and technicians. Have them do a low ranking job for a day or two. Make them understand how the company really works outside the executive floor, and teach them how it feels to be yelled at by a trader for a minor slip.

    While everyone else is bashing investment bankers, I am proud of my wife and all those others who are silently plodding along without a fuss, making things work while the "flashy bosses" have endless meetings like so many chest-thumping gorillas.

    December 10, 2008 at 4:27 am |
  21. AO

    Hello – I agree with your call for the 'real' CEOs. The problem is these corporates were built by people with vision and a drive to build something for the good of the employees and the society at large, along with, of course, personal ambition. However, over the years, these large corporates got taken over by a bunch of people accountable to no one and a desire to be surrounded by 'yes men'. This led to people creating their own small 'fifedoms' within these orgasnizations and promoting a culture of 'whats good for me is the best' rather than 'whats good for the company is right'. Short term bonuses, promoting 'my men' and conserving and increasing ones' personal sphere of influence, even at the cost fot the company, has become the norm.

    Smaller, but still substantially large 'owner controlled' corporates have done better the world over – which raises the question – is it prudent to have large corporates with diversified shareholders with little control over the affairs of the company with 'professional(!)' management, or do investors get better value for money by investing in 'owner controlled' large entities with a more rational approach, espcially when the CEO is secure with the knowledge that it is HIS company and he does not have to worry about internal office politics and 'yearly bonueses'!

    December 10, 2008 at 5:08 am |
  22. MS

    America's culture of individualism breeds peoples with the mentality to strive to compete and beat others, no matter what cost. Being a CEO in the US gives some sense of entitlement as being the best and therefore expecting more then the average person.

    In Japan, where groupist thinking prevails, companies react differently. Just read the article CNN ran on Japan Airline's (JAL) CEO a few weeks ago. His cut in benefits – $90,000/yr salary (lower then most of his pilots' salaries), takes the public bus to work and eats with the other regular workers in the company cafeteria. I would like to see the heads of the Big Three and Wall Street firms do the same.

    December 10, 2008 at 5:13 am |
  23. Nazih El Houssami

    People as per requested high caliber are available all around the world , but unfortunarly some times they are covered by other unqualified whom taking all the credibility.
    Examples and candidates with brilliiant working history can be found if u conduct a seriuos search for them .

    thanks

    December 10, 2008 at 6:21 am |
  24. Stephen

    I think the Chairman of Japan Airways, did it. He commute, eat in the employee canteen and reduces the salaries of the top officials. Singapore government officials reduced their salaries too. But they the exception.

    The problem is the top echelons of the failing companies are cutting costs by layoff employees, but it does not affect themselves. I can't understand why? Its their "brilliant" policies to cause the company failure to begin with.

    If they want to cut lets say 10% of the workforce, I suggest first calculate how much that will save, then compare the equivalent to the top officials, starting from Chairman and CEO down, then layoff these top brats. That will save the money the company plans and at the same time let these brights guys takes full responsibility for their action or inaction.

    That might let them see the light... hopefully

    December 10, 2008 at 6:53 am |
  25. Sam in Spain

    Hi Maggie,
    Have just read your blog after seeing you on CNN and talking with Charles.

    Not being an American perhaps my comments may not be acceptable to the ears of your voters but here goes.

    In my view Americans (not all) have always put money as their true God and God comes second. The depth of Greed and Corruption is quite astounding and of course America has now totally lost its standing in the world.

    I agree entirely with your sentiments, however there are I am sure still some very honourable, honest, truthful and fair executives who could replace those who seek to benefit only themselves at the expense of their employees, however I think that the bulk of your systems are wrong.

    What I do like about your system, is the way that you actually prosecute those who defraud, corrupt and steal from the taxpayers and put them in jail.

    The latest case being what the FBI have on the Governor of Illinois, but there are many more snakes under the rocks.

    Being an old guy, I was involved in financial planning before retirement
    (early) and my first priority was to put the client as No1. Don't get me wrong there are still many many crooks in Financial planning who have the same attitude as the CEO's of many companies and rip off the clients, not just in the US, but also the UK, however they get away with it or like the bosses of the Fannie's deny everything just like most politicians do.

    As an example, there is no way that the CEO of GM would keep his job in the UK having lost $72Billion over 4 years and instead of being prepared to work for $1 this year, why doesn't he use his bonus and salary of last year ($17.5 M) to help bail out the company he has being running for the last 8 years? instead of wanting a Taxpayer LOAN????

    Keep up the good work, and expose all the crooks and incompetents who are bringing the US into disrepute. There are still good people around but they are unfortunately decreasing all over the world.

    December 10, 2008 at 7:41 am |
  26. Tom Pattillo

    Greed, ethics, accountability, value for money paid. About 10 years ago, MBA programs created and publicized their Ethics courses. There was the thought that ethics could be taught. That ethics were just one more skill in a manager's "tool kit." Give a little bit of knowledge – a case or two – and students (future managers and leaders) would "get" it.

    But ethics are not taught – they are inculcated from birth. Teaching flows from the known to the unknown. If there is no base, there can be no known – and therefore nothing to start with. Business Ethics – Oxymoron of the 21st Century (and everyone in the business schools knew it (except perhaps the idealists who were indulged at best – or cynically those who knew a good niche to exploit for personal gain – ah tenure)).

    Greed presupposes a psychological desire that must be met. Not true with the majority of senior executives. They are entitled to this money. This is not greed, it is just reasonable expectation. You get paid 10,000,000 because someone else got paid 9,000,000. And what is the value of a 10,000,000 manager? Do they motivate better, delegate better, create a face to investors, customers, creditors, shareholders that no one else can do better?

    It was said somewhere that the average American worker puts up with the obscene gap between the lowest paid and highest paid employees simply because they hope someday to be in the highest paid category. Something the whole psyche of the American ideal – I did it on my own – encourages. (Might read Outliers by Gladwell – kills the ideal of the "self-made" person.)

    Accountability – to whom. Investors who no longer invest in companies but in Mutual Funds. And mutual funds are run by the same people, with the same sense of entitlement as the companies they invest in. Who says 10,000,000 isn't a proper yearly salary (or bonus) – "I don't hear anyone (my peers, Boards of Directors) arguing it is too much – and my conscience is certainly silent." (Opps a conscience only exists if there is some basis upon which to feel guilt . . . )

    How did we get here? Why, as Greenspan asked, did these businesses not live by the ethic of risk control, or reduction? Why sub-prime? How can Wharton encourage that? How can Harvard? How can any sane banking executive promote such a casual attitude to risk. (Bankers are the new lawyers – once one of the most respected occupations now seen as a pathetic group of Group Think zombies.

    Couple of things: Stalin, "One death is a tragedy, a million deaths is a statistic." When I teach presentation skills, I tell my students: make the universal personal. Make each person in the audience face the reality of their decision on the individual employee, individual investor, individual customer.

    To mix a metaphor? T. S. Eliot once said (paraphrase) "Between the idea and the action lies the shadow." Perhaps between the accepted concept of the ideal 21st Century executive – and their actions, there needs to be a spotlight to make visible the shadow of their conscience.

    Have I met or worked with any good managers/business executives? David Dexter, Halifax, Nova Scotia. He and his brother Keith just sold their Subaru/Audi dealership. David pays himself well, no doubt, but he treats his employees and customers with respect, continually upgrades his knowledge and skill – and gives back to the community both in effort (Deacon at First Baptist Church in Halifax) and financial support of various groups).

    Suzanne Daigle, retired from position of VP Public Relations & Human Resources with Fraser Papers Inc in Stamford Connecticut. She handled many down-sizing/right sizing challenges with careful thought, sensitivity – and the hard cold facts of corporate activities and requirements.

    Norm Williams, ex-CEO of Scotia Investments (1980s) when he attempted to bring their assorted companies into the present and prepare them for the future. He believed in people. He trusted people. He brought out the best in the right people. (He brought in Tom Peters in 1986, when Peters was merely a PBS star.)

    E. Margret Fulton, ex-President of Mount Saint Vincent University in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Tough, fair, outgoing, she made a difference in a young professors life (me) through her honesty, candidness, and sincerity.

    There are other leaders/managers whom I admire. Many Ministers, Priests, Scout Leaders and University Deans and Presidents, but this is a start.

    P.S. William Safire's recent comment on the reasons behind the banking fiasco were, I think, very accurate.

    All the best,

    Tom Pattillo

    December 10, 2008 at 8:10 am |
  27. erleen

    Steve Chang, Jenny Chang and Jenny Chen of Trend Micro.

    They seem very grounded and are reallyinvolved with the company they founded from the ground up.

    December 10, 2008 at 9:18 am |
  28. zen

    The CEOs/Senior Executives of companies that are in trouble should not get any bonus but in fact should be asked to pay back their last year's bonus. They just don't deserve this. And John Thain should be ordered to pay back double of what he thought he should have got. Shame on him to even think of getting his bonus. This should also hold good for all the investment bankers. Am sure a hefty sum will be recovered.

    December 10, 2008 at 9:41 am |
  29. Uma in Liverpool, UK

    Dear Ms Lake,

    Such a leader, boss, or manager, would be a miraculous find. In the large, corporate, profit-making sector, in the USA, I shouldn't be surprised if it hasn't gone the way of the dodo-bird.

    Small-business owners work longer hours, and are generally more decent employers, than anyone, because although they own their businesses, their businesses are their livelihoods. They understand that their employees depend upon them. They work their butts off, and if someone needs to go a bit short, one month, or for a few months, it is they who cut the corners at home.

    File it under 'US Capitalism – Broken Bits'. Not that it's new... The labour-unionist song 'Bread and Roses', from the 19-teens has a line in it about: 'No more the drudge and idler, ten that toil while one reposes'. The idler, who reposes while others toil, is the Supervisor.

    Good examples in 'leadership' from government would help. Possibly the funniest remark anyone has made about this financial SNAFU is when Congressman Barney Frank said, 'President Obama believes there is only one President at a time. He's counting one too many Presidents'.

    I know there are roll-up-their-sleeves, hands-on managers, even of big corporations. Here in England, there is Mr Dyson, who invented the best (eye-wateringly expensive) vacuum-cleaners available. But he doesn't call himself a 'businessman', he calls himself an inventor.

    Maybe that should be the criterion for apportioning pay: innovation that contributes to the growth of the company! Throw the paper-pushers to the end of the queue! Henry Ford was an innovator. He was also a hands-in-the-motor-oil manager, for much of his life.

    I know the USA took a wrong turn, when MBAs became the degrees with the greatest 'future-earning-potential', even surpassing MDs and JDs (Juris Doctor- the basic US law degree). That was right when I was off getting a graduate degree in something completely unmarketable: social justice, in the '80s.

    I too would like to hear about CEOs of big corporations, who are not greedy gits! (While they are still working. Don't 'Bill Gates' me.) I know the Far-East Asian corporate model is very different from the US. Sadly, it seems the Subcontinental one is falling into the same 'overpaid, rich bosses, and underpaid, expendable workers' model. Indian society was already like that, so it is not surprising.

    *sigh* :-(

    December 10, 2008 at 9:53 am |
  30. Jeff

    Enough about capitalism being the cause. I have not seen another system that works. Communism failed. So will the socialist path the US government has taken to deal with this issue.

    The reality of it is that in order to provide incentive for people to work harder and make things better they need to be compensated. Certainly, some of that comes from a job well done. But that doesn't cover everything.

    Realistically, this is business. It is up to the people that own the company, to say "no more". The goals of the senior leadership should be set high and the compensation for meeting those goals should also be set high.

    In a purely competitive market, companies run in that manner will success. Those that aren't should fail. The bailouts we are seeing will only enable the bad leaders.

    With regards to the "filthy rich" it is my sincerest hope that everyone that has more than enough money goves some of it back through philanthropic endevors. It has been said that to those that have been given much much is asked. If you have more than enough money to be comfortable, please help those who aren't.

    As for people being held down by there leadership, if you don't like the leadership, move on or stay. But either way, stop complaining. By staying you are only enabling that leadership to continue to treat people that way. So you are in part responsible for the problem.

    December 10, 2008 at 1:08 pm |
  31. Hugo

    CEO's of public companies do not OWN the company. Thus they don't really give a stuff as long as the company sinks long enough after their departure so they don't get fingered. Welcome the return of investment into private companies and family owned businesses.

    December 10, 2008 at 3:17 pm |
  32. Ramsi Hashash

    In my profession I deal with top level executives every day. Since I o this now for some 15 years I believe I am pretty good in evaluating those top executives from a financial point of few but also from the leadership and people management skills.

    You are looking for as you wrote "Where are all the good CEO’s? Bosses who put their companies and their employees first.

    Surely, there are hard working talented executives out there who can be held up as an example of what real corporate leadership is. Not the sorry symbols of greed and corruption that are in the spotlight now."

    One of the top executives who would fit your search is Mr. Bruce Crutcher President of Trouw Nutrition USA in Highland, IL.

    I have worked with Bruce for 3 years. He certainly fills the profile of talented executive who can be held as an example of what real corporate leadership is. He has turned the company around, with the people as a team. He ensured to create a management team which puts people management first. Since, as he says: "Numbers are a by-product of people..". I know that most members of the Trouw USA family trust Mr. Crutcher's leadership.
    Even while America is struggling through this economic crises, due to Mr. Crutcher's leadership and his team Trouw USA is standing strong which gives all employees the feeling of stability.

    I left the company a year ago but even today when talking to employees and Bruce I know that he is one of those who come closest to your search. I am serious you should meet up with him and interview him. This might give some executives an idea how to lead and manage in the future.

    Take care

    December 10, 2008 at 3:18 pm |
  33. Nam(South Korea)

    For whom the bell tolls.
    For these CEOs.

    December 10, 2008 at 3:37 pm |
  34. Wayne Kozlowski

    If the majority of the people said no to the bailout why was that not put to a vote all those people in goverment who did not listen to the people should befired they did not listen

    December 10, 2008 at 4:21 pm |
  35. earle,florida

    I try to think positive,but it's difficult. I'll give two examples:#1)Mr. Sam Walton, and his brother started a "mom, and pop" merchandise store,which eventually became "Walmart", the largest retailer in the entire world. Since the Walton brothers died many years ago, the company has transformed into a unconscionable parasite, so extreme from the ,"original business model philosphy" the Walton's must be rolling in the grave. 2nd example): Walt Disney and his brother founded," Disney World". Since their deaths many years ago their dreams/legacy has turned into a,"money grubbing flesh eating, corporation",with no new product lines,but instead just running it's past into the grave! Shame on these people,these Wall Street Icon's?

    December 10, 2008 at 4:31 pm |
  36. Constantin

    Ask them why in 1995 they killed the ELECTRIC CAR EV 1 wich by the way had 120 miles range when THE VOLT now has only 40 miles ?
    Who killed the electric car !?? GM DID !

    December 10, 2008 at 8:03 pm |
  37. Ankur

    You deride the "public blame game" seen in the hearings, yet that is exactly what this article is as well. While I am as worried and disappointed in the performance of these companies as any other American, solely blaming CEOs and declaring an across the board lack of loyalty to "put[ting] their companies and... employees first" is too easy, naive and, well, a blame game. Where was the criticism when these same executives led their companies to successful earnings? In addition, where does the author think these folks came from? CEOs of Fortune 500 companies aren't picked out of thin air; they have thick, proven resumes established usually at multiple successfully-led corporations. And they are paid market-driven salaries as companies compete for the best talent. While a $10 mil bonus is outrageous, eliminating it does next to nothing to help a company hemorrhaging billions of dollars. (Remember McCain's few billion dollar no-pork-spending "solution" to our almost half-trillion budget deficit and $10 trillion total national debt? Please!)

    Finally, let's not forget that a corporation is run by a board, with the CEO simply the point man or woman. If you want to play the blame game, at least blame all the leadership. Or did you think the CFO, Chairman of the Board, etc. are all being paid minimum wage?

    December 10, 2008 at 9:05 pm |
  38. VicN

    With not enough votes to end a fillabuster what are the options? I recall a number of years ago the Republicans were going to use an option called the "nuclear option" to force and end to debate in the Senate. Is this still an option?

    December 10, 2008 at 10:39 pm |
  39. d. griffith

    It probably would help to not look for good bosses in the corner. To me the corner is a secret private place where bosses exercise the dark corners of their minds on how to control(corner) the money supply.

    December 11, 2008 at 12:41 am |
  40. Lou Morace

    A truly great man, and business man is the grounder and top CEO of IKEA the Swedish furniture giant. A fellow who drives an old Volvo, and takes care of his customers as well as employees. Have a look at this man, and wish they were all like him.

    December 11, 2008 at 4:33 am |
  41. Marcus

    Well 10 million usd bonus is enough to pay for say 2000 workers without laying them off?
    Just remove all bonuses and dividends from these faces of greed, and you can sure help keep the layman his job.

    December 11, 2008 at 4:49 am |
  42. Entlebucher

    Where ARE the good execs; a valid question. However, we must not forget that the investing public (whether thru 401K's, pension funds, mutual funds, or individual stock ownership) was not complaining when these same CEO's were aggressively driving their companies to meet SHORT TERM market expectations and thereby driving up the stock market. Bottom line, we winked & nodded when the market was going up; now we are SHOCKED, JUST SHOCKED at their greed. We got the execs we wanted when we voted with our 401K selections and Day Trading.

    December 11, 2008 at 5:39 am |
  43. lakshman Dalpadado

    Please read Haeger's( from Germany) comments. I think his comments that technocrats should lead businesses is more relavent today than at any other time. UK and USA businesses are stuffed full with MBAs who have no idea of the products they are selling.

    Also there is irrefutable evidence that technocrats and scientifically trained professionals are more honest and honorable that all other trainees and graduates.

    Almost all company CEO in Japan and Germany are engineers who have a proper understanding of future technological advances that is required to take the company forward. Even in USA, this is the reason why IT companies like Microsoft and Apple are doing well whilst others flounder.

    December 11, 2008 at 6:06 am |
  44. Peter

    You only see the rotten ones from the media as they are good news.
    Most of good CEOs not being mentioned as their company has no
    problem to report.

    The problem is not the system, it is rotten ones causing the troubles.
    They are like bad parts in an economic engine. Need to be replaced
    as soon as they failed to properly function.

    So be positive, and FIRE the bad CEOs. The sooner the better.
    The CEOs of companies that failed and needed bailout should
    resign if they are self-respect. The fact that they stay and keep
    spending company money for their own gain tells something about
    them. I have no hope in or respect for these CEOs.

    Please fire them.

    December 11, 2008 at 6:22 am |
  45. Jim M

    Does there even exist today a "true leader"? A person that leads by example?

    The overal basic rule with in any workplace today is "how do I suck up to my immediate boss, so that I may gain one more advancement in my career and just maybe towards corporate management?" Today, there isn't the concept of promotion by merit, but simply who best tickles these self centered egotist holding the title of "executive".

    Many corporations today hire these "short term" ( non-visionary) goal setting CEOs and their subordinate executives to simply cut expenses, outsource, downsize and consequently raise the stock value over the next 5 years that these inidividuals hold the position of coprorate leadership. But the irony behind all these highly paid executives resumes is the fact that there are never any long term goal setting projections , which will plan the course and direction of corporations for the future. The irony to all these goal setting is that there does not exist any planning for even for the next 10 years after they have implemented the "short term" expense to revenue goals.

    Creative accounting is another economic tool factor in the game, which the "good old boys" inject into their short reign of goal accomplishments. However,, again in the long term outlook it proves to be what has finally happened in today's economical global results.

    One person told me once that the high bonus and salaries these executives carefully negotiated and procurred into their contracts has nothing to do with the fact that they need it, but more so that it is simply "relative" to the social circle they move around in. It boils down to, " how much more can I gain over the other highly paid executives in my field?"

    But in the end we, the average working class person, are to blame for allowing this to happen. We are so afraid of losing our job and the small take home pay that it provides for our meager lives and to our family, that we forget our own "pride". For we too are selling ourselves out and falsely worshipping these executives at corporate meeetings by applauding their short term actions. In the long term outcome in the corporate world, we are the ones that are expendable and serve only as long as these "masters" permit. Seems that we have learned nothing from early times when there were lords and kings over the common people and permitted the "peasants" to serve only to their wants, whether it was building their empires up or simply adding to their monetary goals .

    December 11, 2008 at 7:17 am |
  46. H. Paijmans

    If a common human being kills for money, he has a good chance to end in death row. The CEO's of this world do perhaps not kill for money, but they have no compunction to send thousands, or even hundreds of thousands to poverty, and all this for top salaries and large bonusses. And top advocates when they are caught.

    I say: if they really deserve all that money, let them earn it. But if they are caught with fraud, or self-enrichment, let their punishment be commensurate with their earnings, and let them face the death penalty in extreme cases.

    December 11, 2008 at 7:23 am |
  47. Peter D

    Fred Smith, Alan Graf, David Bronczek and many other top executives at FedEx fit the bill as top level, ethical leaders. They have never had a major lay-off of staff in the US, Mr. Smith does not take an exhorbitant salary in the company he founded, and the company is prudent and ethical in the way it reports earnings, manages the finances, and as a a result is one of the few airlines in the world that consistently makes a profit

    Mr. Smith does not get nearly enough credit for his performance over the last 3 decades.

    NB: I am a former employee but still greatly admire my former employers

    December 11, 2008 at 7:41 am |
  48. Martin

    A good manager in the sense of your question would be Steven Jobs. When he was CEO of Apple the first time around he "invented" the Macintosh, shooting the shareprices through the roof, while creating a interessting work environment (yes, there was pressure, but there also was a corporate officer whose sole responsibility was to check the hallways for obstacles to skateboard-riders!).

    After Apple went deep, deep down he came back and "invented" anything and everything with an "i-" in front. I guess if he would be named "Car Czar" it would not take six month for the "i-car" (fully electric and practicable) to appear (they got the plans in a drawer somewhere, i am certain of it, the rascals!). There would be a lot of middle-management fireings, Jobs is not a man of great pacience, but he would get the job done, or die trying...

    December 11, 2008 at 8:11 am |
  49. Phil the Airman

    I read through all the articles and i can say (from my point of view) there is a lot of truth in pretty much all of them! I have been in the Air Force now for 6 years and overseas for 5 of it, been to quite a few countries and consider myself much more cultured than before.

    All that aside, I believe we (Americans) need to stop being so sensitive about everything and expecting things to be given to us. Yes, Corporate CEOs and Senior Execs are paid too much, and for too long a time. Yes, the workers are not paid enough. So what. Who is going to change it? No one, we have to start looking out for each other. The broke worker on the line needs to try and help out the other guy who is struggling. Here in the military we are often times underpaid but we help each other out, especially overseas. We are paid in dollars and pay our bills in the local currency, most times losing money in the transactions. But we help each other out, for example when moving on to another assignment it is very possible to get a vehicle with little to no need for immediate maintenance for FREE! One person doesn’t REALLY need it and another desperately does. It is called a team. We as a country are on the same team. We need to remember that. There is a need for a noticeable pay difference between the lowest and highest tiers of a company, but it does not have to be as stark as we are seeing now.
    Maybe an idea would be to make the CEOs MORE invested in the company, the higher they go, the less liquidity in their assets the more tied up it would become in the company. That would Force them to tie the company's best interest in with their own. Tie the nearly guaranteed bonus in with a more tangible goal, say a 3% rise in productivity.
    I am by no means a Corporate guy but I do see what is going on in the civilian sector and it is mimicked here in the Air Force I can assure you. Our "CEOs" are our Generals and we get the same every now and then.

    December 11, 2008 at 8:24 am |
  50. George

    Jeff: "With regards to the “filthy rich” it is my sincerest hope that everyone that has more than enough money goves some of it back through philanthropic endevors. It has been said that to those that have been given much much is asked. If you have more than enough money to be comfortable, please help those who aren’t."

    I am chronically unemployed (despite a Master's Degree and great grades worth nothing) and yet give some money to the sick homeless woman at the corner traffic light while jerks with Mercedes Benzs and BMWs pass by without even looking at her.

    Also... NO ONE works "so hard" that they "earn" 10 million dollars, unless you had a 1,000 hr. workday! That is ludicrous.

    $10 million is MORE than the combined salaries of a doctor (all those years of all-nighters), a surgeon (saving lives while not having his own), an engineer (more all-nighters and no life), an architect, a construction worker (physically draining work NOT done in the comfort of a lush chair), a policeman (risking life), a firefighter (also risking life), a computer programmer, a safety inspector, a surgeon, and an airline pilot... COMBINED. COMBINED!!!

    You mean to tell me that those CEO jerks work MORE than ALL those pros COMBINED???? WHAT??? NO. Something is VERY wrong with this picture. Even Adam Smith, returning from the grave, would be APPALLED!

    December 11, 2008 at 8:25 am |
  51. Todd

    Good CEOs are out there, we just need to let the capitalistic machine work. I could run these organization easily and become profitable, have high employee morale and produce quality and innovative products. It's fairly simple, if people want a product the company will flourish. If not, the company disintegrates. Go back in history when we had less government involvement and the companies that exist now were the strong then.

    I hear too often the a little government tweating is what we need. Wrong answer. A little government turns into more and more government which forces the 'little man' out and leaves the big and rich to dominate. The regulations hurt the auto industry and add at least $500-$1000 in cost to each vehicle. Granted the industry feasted on us (the consumer) during the low oil prices of the 90s by producing SUVs and not quality small vechicles, but they are paying the price now. Let them suffer. This is how the little man has his say. They have to respond to my needs and wants. If they don't produce what we want, let them go bankrupt which if an already established government bailout.

    US goods and services are generally desired around the world because of the attentiveness to consumers wants, desires and needs. Detroit, this is a wake-up call, the world does not want your product so fix it or go the way of the dinosaur and we'll use your remnants to fuel a better American auto manufacturer.

    Now how do we get good CEOs? Educate our society on the principles of capitalism. If they truly understand economics, these companies would not be where there at today. Our communistic educational system is to blame and our families are to blame. I know this because too often I hear that when people or companies are in peril they turn to government for help. This is a shame. What ever happened to good ole individualism and self-reliance? Look at Bosch. A very-successful non-profit organization that reivests in itself and continues to produce innovative and desirable products. They know what the consumers want and they will continue to prosper after the 'Big Three' go bankrupt. In a way this is how Steve Jobs, an outstanding business leader, has handled his organizations.

    As for the auto industry. They have inept leadership that doesn't listen to their technical experts and only care about the value of the stock instead of the quality of product. Let them suffer, because if they don't the consumer will, by providing money for a bailout. Money from you and me that will be spent on producing a product the world doesn't want.

    December 11, 2008 at 8:50 am |
  52. David Thomas

    If you do find one who puts his or hers company and staff first, then by current rules he or she should be sacked as all CEOs have a higher responsibility to their shareholders.

    If you wonder what is wrong with the system and why it creates ugliness and greed then I'm afraid it is something as fundamental as that.

    December 11, 2008 at 9:36 am |
  53. Rose, Chicago

    How many m(b?)illions is Rick Wagoner going to get for stepping down from GM?

    December 11, 2008 at 3:07 pm |
  54. Shiela, Chicago

    The whole concept of "To big to fail" is faulty. If they consider themselves "to big to fail, no matter what stupid things we do, then there is NO ACCOUNTABILITY and well have to keep bailing them out infinitely.

    Instead of "to big to fail" we need to focus on " TOO STUPID TO BE ALLOWED TO CONTINUE".

    December 11, 2008 at 3:15 pm |
  55. Phil

    No, the CEOs are like the Sports figures who are so greedy, they will stop at nothing to make themselves richer. They don't care about the employees. The U.S. has to set the example and have a limit on salaries under a million, and discontinue bonuses except to the workers. Get rid of the greedy CEOs now.

    December 11, 2008 at 3:43 pm |
  56. G Hartsuch

    Our elected officials are not doing what the population wants anyway. The surveys I saw said no bailout for Wall Street and no bailout for the auto industries. Will congress listen? My guess is NO.
    There is only money for the elite.
    Even if GM, Ford, Chrysler could produce cars that get 1,000 miles a gallon there is little money down here to buy them.
    I'll pay Union cost for a auto plus material cost, let GM execs pay the remaining $30,000.

    December 11, 2008 at 6:57 pm |
  57. Rob

    They all start out good, but it's the 'number driven' people that end up having the power.

    Corporate is all about the bottom line not the people. That thinking translates to ones pocket book, so who is really going to give up that mind frame?

    'You say it's about the number, so pay me'.

    You only care in corporate if it benefits you in some way. It's capitalism, and the only way to 'make it to the top!'.

    What does this all mean? The good ones that have a heart, leave....And they would have never made it to the top anyway. Too soft.

    December 12, 2008 at 1:06 am |
  58. John

    Yes they all should be sacked. If you looked at their contracts Iwould bet you would find a big pay out plan in it. They have already made enough bucks from the blood and sweat of our American workers. Too you David Thomas for saying it like it is!!! And it is only in America, Duetche Bank CEO went to the German Gov. and asked for money to help out his bank-- – - when the German Gov. said he could only make 500,000 Euros a year he said oh no we do not want your help under those conditions, I would rather fire some workers and keep my outragious wages. The majority of CEos are responcible for finance crisis that we are in. With their shareholders they can claim the prise of killing the American dream. Globalization and free trade is what is wrong.. If you want to show anouther country how you do the job – - – thumbs up but do not fire your workers to have cheap labor at our expence.

    December 12, 2008 at 5:30 am |
  59. Carl Gillberg

    Several of the CEO in the car industry should have been replaced a long time ago. The republican congressmen and congresswomen who killed the bailout tonight should also have been replaced a long time ago. It is hard to understand how these men and women have been chosen in the first place.

    December 12, 2008 at 5:50 am |
  60. Sidhartt Gupta

    The very fact that GM CEO, even after posting $38 Billion loss and heading for bankruptcy,shows the dumbness and ineffectiveness of the whole GM board and not just the CEO himself.

    December 12, 2008 at 7:56 am |
  61. Ermete

    "Samson said, 'Let me die with the Philistines!'
    I live in Italy, and really amazes me the
    complete lack of compassion Americans are
    showing.-No one is caring about others...
    GM, Ford..? who cares? Chrysler ..? I don't mind...
    The workers in the auto industry...? What?
    and then you have the All American Phrase:
    It is not my problem!
    Yes, It Is Not My Problem....and you have
    solved all your problems!!
    That's good, turn to the other side, do not look,
    wash your hands, It Is Not Your Problem..
    I really think you have choosen the wrong path...

    December 12, 2008 at 8:23 am |
  62. Mike

    I believe that these CEO’s are getting paid too much. It’s just ridiculous! This “Wild West” of unregulated wages is hurting companies (as well as the company employees). These CEO’s want to cut cost by taking from the average worker, yet they receive these outrageous wages and bonuses every year. This nonsense needs to be stopped!! If you want to call it socialism??… Go ahead!!! Some sort of regulation will fix a lot of problems.

    December 12, 2008 at 8:27 am |
  63. Brent

    If the companies had such good bosses, than they would not have financial problems. Putting the blame on someone else is to me not a good ceo!

    December 12, 2008 at 8:58 am |
  64. abdullah erol, turkey

    "Money" has become central to the lives of most people. We should try to get "money" out of the central place in our lives! There are many capitalist traps we are deceived by! Banks and insurance companies are examples of such traps! Our money (savings and premiums) saves and insures some rich people, not us!

    December 12, 2008 at 9:09 am |
  65. Varun

    It is appalling to see how the best and the brightest executives in the financial world are failing ethics 101 in terms of how they are taking advantage of the common taxpayer who has to work contemplating whether he or she is welcome to the office the following day.

    Sydney, Australia

    December 12, 2008 at 9:15 am |
  66. jim

    CEOs, senior bankers (it seems in reality most bankers) and others who were paid huge salaries justified them on the basis of the responsibility they held and the risks they took. They were the final arbiteur , the buck stopped there.
    Isnt it amazing that these people who thought themselves supermen (and a few women) and totally in control and who were lucky enough (as they thought) to be born with genes that made them invincible) were the first to go running to mummy when it started going wrong.
    In the end, they didnt have the backbone to actually deserve the salary. The real people who deserve the salary are : the hourly workers who take huge risks every day, the small business owners and the entrepreneurs
    The big end of town actually deserve to be paid the same as a government employee because, in the end, that is what they wanted to be.
    Next time you see a wall street "master of the universe" or a senior executive from a mega corp just say " your welcome"

    December 12, 2008 at 10:47 am |
  67. Rich Rosario

    I've been told that in the event of lay-offs, the UAW has enough money to pay all of it's members two years wages. If the UAW is this strong financially, why doesn't the union financially back it's employers in a time of need to protect their own jobs? If you can't make concessions in troubled times with your own money, why should we give you ours? If the big three fail, someone will fill the void when the economy recovers. Do you really believe that Toyota, Honda, etc... wouldn't expand to grab a bigger share of the market in the event of their failure? Politicians shouldn't have to tell businessmen that they need to restructure to be profitable, they should have learned this in college.

    December 12, 2008 at 4:36 pm |
  68. Donald St.Pierre

    I have been watching things unfold for several months now. I have seen our lawmakers develope the TARP law and one thing comes to the surface everyday. After we strapped our kids with BILLIONS of dollars of debt to bail out the very industry that has screwed us for years How can this bailout from supposedly the best and brightest of us be allowed to continually be used for other than consumers. we see people losing their jobs every day because the money is not there to keep these companies afloat while the banks are holding this money for their own greed. I know the law has been written but it can be modified by the writers or probably be an executive order. It is time for lawmakers to step up and take the necessary steps to make the law work like it was intended. Even if this upsets some of their friends in the financial markets. Would this not bail out the automakers?

    December 12, 2008 at 5:21 pm |
  69. JM

    The corner offices of Wachovia and Wells have informed the people in their (Wach's & Wells') trenches that bonuses will be down 90% from last year.

    This includes sectors of the bank(s) who actually made money this past year, in what has now been labeled a year of recession; who played by the rules set out by the industry and our government; ...this includes people who actually need and depend on their bonuses as a source of income, and income which has never been close to the millions of dollars the corner offices earned. An income which buys food, gas, tuition and a mortgage on a small home in N.C. Not a fourth or fifth home in the South of France or the ski slopes of Virginia, much less Aspen.

    There was hope for some of us when Wells won the fight with Citi over the takeover of Wachovia. I have to say that hope of fairness is gone, however. We worked hard this past year, and I understand cutting back, but fair is fair – and the powers that be over at Wells Fargo/Wachovia are proving themselves to be anything but.

    I understand some people will have little sympathy for those of us remaining through the carnage of the banking meltdown. But there remain honest, fair and hard-working people (with real families) in this industry who still play by very strict and ethical rules, who plowed through a bad economy and did moderately well in an awful economy, who are being punished and not rewarded for their efforts – their principled and decent efforts. These same people are being hurt – not only by their own corner offices, but by blanket assumptions and misaligned judgements by the media and the uninformed public opinion.

    December 12, 2008 at 6:51 pm |
  70. vikram srinivasa

    There are ways to solve the US economic crisis easiest and fastest way, which is by resolving the sub-prime crisis.

    Firstly, there should be a bail out of the economy or institutions by US government with tax payers money or with the help of other countries or IMF. The choice is depending on the interests of US.

    Secondly, US has to resolve the sub prime crisis by fixing the prices of the properties and sorting out the crisis between people, sub-prime lenders and the banks. This is not according to capatalist economic principles but by embracing socialist economic priniciples, which is called nationalization.

    We can solve the problem earliest by embracing socialist economic principles, rather than sticking to capitalist economic principles, which has no solution to the existing problem. Everyone accepts that socialist or capitalist principles are to build up economic structure of a country, but rules have to be bent or changed when crisis prevails. Because everyone i.e., people, subprime lenders, banks and government have made contributions to cause the subprime crisis and hence collapse in the economy.

    December 13, 2008 at 3:33 pm |
  71. dinesh

    it is indeed annoying to see inept CEOs get paid so much, but the fundamental flaw is how CEOs are recruited or promoted.

    If I consider myself, I have over 20 years of experience in my industry having worked in every key business section but I will always remain vice president and despite my proven business accumen and leadership skills I will never be promoted or head hunted as ceo simply because I don't have a Ivy League MBA,I don't have very high profile network connections.I always have thought if I am to become a CEO I don't need such million dollar packages, a decent salary is all that is needed as long as the challenge is to motivate and run a great company.

    The answer should be to avoid hiring high profile CEOs and look for unknown talent.

    December 14, 2008 at 11:20 am |
  72. Rod

    Maybe the rich would rather build their own cars or mow their own lawns. Then again why do that when they can get an illegal worker to do it for slave wages. Why knock the workers for trying to get a better deal, the rich keep trying to get the workers meager wealth. Just look at the latest example of Wall St. greed for proof. Who won and who lost and our government bails out Wall St. and the banks and throws a bone to the home buyer and the worker. The crisis in the auto industry isn't the workers fault, so why should they shoulder some of the blame for trying to better their lives. Anyone that thinks that the worker is to blame is either rich or brain washed or would rather work for slave wages or work for a foriegn company. Free trade isn't free. Don't buy into the word smith's lie.

    December 14, 2008 at 3:14 pm |
  73. Lara Gravenor

    I had a university lecturer tell me that America has a culture of corporate greed (when asked about Enron the lecturer responded thus). I can see what he meant. The class was full of prospective CPA's. I once had a job offer from America. I said "no" and went to London instead!

    December 15, 2008 at 8:39 am |
  74. Ed

    There are many good CEOs out there. The system to appoint CEOs needs to change. Appointed Executive Search firms usually hold the keys to these positions and promote their candidates for review by the board. The higher the salary, the more money the search firm earns. Hence the spiral to lala land. A wider group of candidates should be able to be reviewed by the board instead of only those suggested by the executive search firm.

    December 17, 2008 at 8:21 pm |
  75. Val

    One small thing: I think proper, legal behavior should be the norm, not the exception!

    The fact that you need to ask readers for some positive examples, in the torrent of examples of opportunism and sheer greed is telling of the sad state our business culture is in. And we are talking about former heads of Nasdaq and NYSE here...

    December 17, 2008 at 11:06 pm |
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