Friday, April 3, 2009

Friday Musings: Bartiromo, “Corporate Governmance,” and the Final Four

I finally read Maria Bartiromo’s interview with Bob Nardelli, the CEO of Chrysler, that appeared in the April 6, 2009 Business Week. Maria asked Nardelli why taxpayers should be bailing out a private equity firm, namely, Cerberus, the majority owner of Chrysler. Good question. Unfortunately, Maria let him off the hook when Nardelli labeled Cerberus “no different than Fireman’s Fun, CalPERS, mutual funds, etc.” No, Cerberus is not the same as a mutual fund. Unless you know of many mutual funds that take controlling interests in companies they invest in, install their own CEOs, and line up for government money when their “investment” goes bad. Leaders in the press need to do a better job extracting honest responses from the titans of business they are interviewing. And “extract,” as in a decayed tooth, is almost certainly the right word. Let’s do better next time, Maria.

The Syd Blog word of the day is “corporate governmance,” defined as the set of policies and actions designated by the U.S. Treasury to ensure that private enterprises that depend on government assistance act in a manner consistent with the preferences of the Treasury.

The Final Four: GM, Ford, Chrysler, and Treasury. Who will win?

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