From: The Epicurean Dealmaker
Subject: Jeff Immelt
Dear Jack —
I saw that you apologized on CNBC today for the televised ass-whuppin' you gave Jeff Immelt yesterday after GE's earnings release. I'm sure Jeff appreciated the retraction, and I know for a fact that he hopes you don't "get out a gun and shoot" him if GE misses again. He asked me to tell you that he is working like gangbusters on the Gordian Knot puzzle you left him, but he still hasn't found the bottle of Jack's Secret Sauce you hid in the company boardroom. (Gosh, you guys are clever. I never knew the GE Way included scavenger hunts for the incoming chief executive.)
Heaven knows, there seems to be a surfeit of underemployed, overexposed old farts running around burnishing their reputations at the expense of their successors, but I am glad you had the cojones to call "foul" on yourself for your little indiscretion. While there do seem to be a few skeptics out there, the
Of course, if you really were trying to be supportive of Immelt, rather than boosting your waning speaking fees by putting in another gratuitous appearance on CNBC, maybe you should have said something more on point, like the following:
"Ya know, I've got a helluva lot of respect for Jeff, 'cause he's been trying to dig himself and GE out of the stinking sump I left 'em in when I sashayed off into the Cialis Sunset with Suzy. Who knew that a sprawling conglomerate with revenues greater that the GDP of many countries couldn't grow faster than the global economy forever? Lemme tell ya: I sure didn't.
"'Course, in my day, it was a helluva lot easier to deliver on 15%-plus earnings growth every quarter when we had an entire accounting department dedicated to smoothing earnings through sleight of hand and reserves management. We also didn't have any namby-pamby audit partners waltzing into the boardroom pretending they had spines, either. (I really hate those Enron smartasses. They just had to go and ruin a sweet little game for the rest of us.)
"Anyway, I'm sure Jeff'll do a helluva job, 'cause he's a helluva guy. Why, Suzy likes him so much she told me she's gonna give him a great big interview the next time I go out of town on a speaking jaunt. And Suzy, well, I trust her judgment, 'cause she's a helluva gal."
On second thought, Jack, maybe the whole public appearance and speech thing wasn't the best idea in the first place. I know you pride yourself on your outspokenness, but where I come from there's only one thing that comes "straight from the gut," and it don't smell pretty.
Maybe in the future you should perform your evacuations in private, rather than depositing your straight talk in a steaming little pile on national television. That way, you won't have to apologize later for stepping in it.
Stupid old man.
© 2008 The Epicurean Dealmaker. All rights reserved.