5.04.2009

Only a Fool Would Take This Job

The government is having a tough time filling all the spots of the executives and directors it has ousted recently. As Joann Lublin reports in the Wall St. Journal,
The federal government's expanding involvement in finance companies and auto makers has saddled it with another tricky task: executive recruiter.

As part of Chrysler LLC's bankruptcy filing last week, the government has the right to appoint four directors to Chrysler's board. Government agencies are running, aiding or monitoring searches for executives or directors to help lead at least five other companies receiving government aid: General Motors Corp., GMAC LLC, American International Group Inc., Citigroup Inc. and Freddie Mac.

But government officials and outside observers fear it will be tough to find seasoned executives to step into high-profile positions with limited authority and limited pay. Executives and directors at these companies will have to balance obligations to taxpayers and other shareholders, all the while under close scrutiny by Congress and the media. [bold added]
Do they really think it will be that difficult? Hmm. Let's see... intrusive oversight by politicians and regulators, low pay, and the possibility that the political winds could change at any moment and an angry busload of ACORN protesters could be outside your door, harassing your kids on the way to school. This of course is on top of the moral culpability of taking part in the creeping (galloping?) fascism taking hold in the country.

With that in mind, Lublin quotes Charles Elson of the U. of Deleware business school:

"No one who has much sense will want to put themselves in that position."

This is undoubtedly true. Despite the fact that it is absolutely wrong that the government is in the position to hire and fire executives at will, they will eventually fill the positions. But if only a fool would take the job...

2 comments:

Doug Reich said...

Great post.

Re the kinds of people they will attract - reminded me of the following:
(http://www.aynrand.org/site/News2?page=NewsArticle&id=5140)

Dr. Thomas Hendricks, the brain surgeon in Ayn Rand's 1957 novel, Atlas Shrugged, who flees from socialist medicine, explains his choice as follows: "I have often wondered at the smugness with which people assert their right to enslave me, to control my work, to force my will, to violate my conscience, to stifle my mind--yet what is it that they expect to depend on, when they lie on an operating table under my hands? Let them discover the kind of doctors that their system will now produce. Let them discover, in their operating rooms and hospital wards, that it is not safe to place their lives in the hands of a man whose life they have throttled. It is not safe, if he is the sort of man who resents it--and still less safe, if he is the sort who doesn't."

C. August said...

Thanks for the quote. That describes it exactly.