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Every once in a while, narrative-world gives you a gift that just keeps on giving.
So it is with outgoing CEO Ginni Rometty’s regime of despair at IBM.
I mean, I haven’t even gotten to the billions of dollars frittered away on stock buybacks. We still haven’t seen the 8-k IBM will file after the close on a Friday afternoon detailing the tens of millions of dollars that the board will lavish on Rometty as she walks out the door.
I’ve already compiled all 167 of Rometty’s SEC Form 4s to figure out just how much money in stock comp alone she’s sucked out of IBM. The answer to our puzzle is over $100 million.
I’m not even going to count Rometty’s salary and annual cash bonuses. I’m not going to count the corporate jet. I’m not going to count the Augusta National membership and all that. Nope, you’ve gotta work hard to fritter away a national treasure like IBM into irrelevance, so let’s not begrudge the woman whatever tens of millions of dollars she’s been paid in cash comp … Continue reading
But today my focus is on the IBM-sponsored hagiography that is springing up like slime molds on the underside of rotting swamp cabbages.
It starts with this:
Which is drawn from this:
Rometty’s Legacy: Leading to IBM’s Promised Land [Chief Executive]
Moses may have been able to see the Promised Land, but that doesn’t mean he could complete his mission to lead the people there. A different skill set was needed, and Joshua was selected. No one faults Moses for his time in the desert.
History will be equally kind to Ginni Rometty, the CEO of IBM. The company’s share price may have lagged rivals over the last few years, but inside the company—deep inside, where it counts—Rometty has transformed IBM in every possible way, setting the stage for a promising next chapter. IBM’s stock is up 25% just this past year.
Some cynical business media never quite got the story right, and it was eye opening that the same respected business voices who preach against short-termism were focused solely on the 4 percent jump IBM’s stock took on the news of Rometty’s retirement, rather than the foundation she’d laid for the years to come. So much for long-term investment, technological transformation, community impact and “ESG,” right?— Yale professor Jeff Sonnenfeld, winner of the Epsilon Theory lifetime achievement award for narrative construction in service to the oligarchy, popularly known as The Renfield.
The author of this quite serious analysis where Ginni Rometty is favorably compared to … checks notes … MOSES, is none other than Yale professor Jeff Sonnenfeld, who is also the founder and leading light of the Chief Executive Leadership Institute, a non-profit “school for CEOs featuring applied research and peer-driven learning” that generates a multi-million dollar revenue stream for the Yale School of Management.
Would it surprise you to learn that Jeff Sonnenfeld works hand-in-hand with Chief Executive Group, a decidedly for-profit company that, among other things, runs the Chief Executive website that published Jeff’s little paean to Ginni Rometty?
Would it surprise you to learn that IBM is a major sponsor of Sonnenfeld’s Chief Executive Leadership Institute?
Would it surprise you to learn that Jeff Sonnenfeld presented Ginni Rometty with the … checks notes … Yale Lifetime of Leadership Award and the … checks notes, does a double-take, and checks notes again … Yale Legend of Leadership Award?
Yes, apparently the Yale Legend of Leadership Award is a real thing. And “prestigious”, too, according to Jeff’s hand-written Wikipedia entry.
Would it surprise you to learn that Jeff Sonnenfeld has been doing this stuff for literally decades, to the point where even the New York Post catches on to his act?
Three times in the past 16 months, Sonnenfeld has written opinion pieces or been quoted in the media supporting a company or CEO who was honored by his Chief Executive Leadership Institute or was a financial backer of his biannual CEO Summit, The Post’s research reveals.
None of the op-eds disclosed either the financial backing the companies supplied to the Sonnenfeld-led nonprofit or that CELI had honored their CEOs.— by Josh Kosman and Michelle Celarier (April 15, 2015)
Actually, I would bet a lot of money that Nelson Peltz tipped off the NY Post to dig into the Sonnenfeld puff pieces around his DuPont activism, but still, good for them to publish this article five years ago.
Not gonna lie, I can’t wait to dig into the Form 990 for the Chief Executive Leadership Institute.
Like I say, it’s the gift that keeps on giving.
One more thought on all this for today.
There is no structural difference between the “conspiracy theories” of Zero Hedge and the “serious opinions” of Chief Executive. The only difference is whether the constructed narrative supports the status quo or challenges the status quo.
And yet Zero Hedge is banned from Twitter for making up narratives from the flimsiest of “facts”, while Sonnenfeld and his fellow Renfields are celebrated for doing exactly the same thing.
Clear eyes, friends. Clear eyes.