Opinion

Jack and Suzy Welch

Mr. Biden, here’s the truth about private equity

Jack and Suzy Welch
May 30, 2012 17:41 UTC

Time was you worked in private equity and people just sort of shrugged when you mentioned it. You were in finance sort of; you invested in companies, you made deals. Whatever.

Now, you’re in private equity, and well, hello. You’re a heroic job creator – or no, wait, you take pleasure in firing people. You’re a savvy executive who knows how to grow the economy – or get outta here, you’re a vulture capitalist with leadership skills, as Vice-President Joe Biden recently put it, that are no better than a plumber’s.

Hello, indeed, and with all due respect to the vice-president, and certainly with no offense intended toward plumbers, we have a question.

Mr. Vice-President, where in the world are you getting your ideas about private equity?

Because we have an entirely different take, and we can tell you where ours comes from – experience, 20-plus years of working with PE firms and 11 years of working for one. And given that experience, and given how private equity is at the epicenter of the political debate now, we’d say it’s time for a reality check about what private equity really does and what kind of leaders it tends to produce.

JPMorgan: Jamie Dimon and the horse he fell off

Jack and Suzy Welch
May 24, 2012 12:30 UTC

If there’s one person you probably don’t envy right now, it’s Jamie Dimon.

In the past week, the JPMorgan CEO has been summoned to testify before Congress and learned that his company is facing investigations by an alphabet soup of federal agencies, from the CFTC to the FBI to the SEC. He’s also had to spend a lot of time in the middle of a media feeding frenzy, offering mea culpas and referring to himself and members of his team as “stupid,” “sloppy” and “dead wrong.”

In short, Jamie Dimon has been knocked off the large, white horse he rode through the financial crisis.

Now, echoing the general consensus, nothing illegal appears to have occurred in the course of JPMorgan’s $2 billion-plus trading loss. No taxpayer money was involved, and the investigations, it seems, are largely pro-regulation, political grandstanding with a dose of schadenfreude thrown in. At least so far, nothing has happened that’s actually going to seriously damage the bank’s long-term value to shareholders. It’s just that – well, it’s just that JPMorgan made a mistake.

The Wal-Mart mess: Everybody does it (and we don’t mean bribery)

Jack and Suzy Welch
May 1, 2012 20:53 UTC

“Ignore him, he’s a whack job.”

“She’s just bitter she didn’t get promoted.”

“He’s been shooting his mouth off for years – and it’s always nothing.”

Those lines sound familiar? If you work in business, they probably do – it’s how people talk about whistleblowers. Shocking? It’s just the truth. Even though whistleblowers may have a noble reputation in the media, gracing magazine covers and prime-time TV spots, when they surface within a company, management almost always brushes them off with a discrediting back story or a little piece of history that explains away all their annoying accusations. And here’s why that happens: In the vast majority of cases, whistleblowers are, to some degree, crazy or vengeful or both.

Until, one terrible, awful day when, speaking out of vengefulness or ethical earnestness, the whistleblower also happens to be telling the truth. And then, well, you get a crisis like the one Wal-Mart finds itself tangled in today.

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