Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Jack Welch

This blog has always been about my experience and has included information I have gathered about sociopaths and/or psychopaths. But I saw a segment on the Today show this morning that deserves comment.

Jack Welch appeared on the show with his third wife Suzy. Jack and Suzy, the former editor of the Harvard Business Review, had an affair while Jack was married to his second wife Jane Beasley Welch. Jack Welch is highly regarded for his accomplishments at GE and was recently named by the Financial Times as one of the most admired business leaders in the world today. Jack and Suzy appeared on Today to promote their new book.

Every time I see Jack Welch on TV I am reminded of something I heard attributed to the great amateur golfer Bobby Jones. Mr. Jones once said that integrity is what you do when no one is watching and that what you do in private is who you are. I believe in those statements and believe that many people in today's society overlook one's personal behavior when judging greatness. Jack Welch may be a great business leader but does he have the kind of integrity, morals and values that we should see in a great leader?

Christopher Byron published a book called 'Testosterone Inc.: Tales of CEOs Gone Wild' in 2004. From the jacket cover is the following description of the book: ..."Drenched in money and public acclaim, our CEO-heroes--mostly white, mostly male, mostly middle-aged--turned out to be not much different than a group of twenty-something rock stars --drunk on power and driven by sex, greed and glamour. Testosterone Inc. goes behind the boardroom doors to show the serial affairs and marriages of these acquisitive corporate titans. At the center of this story is Jack Welch, the biggest of America's rock star CEO, surrounded by "mini-me" CEOs Ron Perelman of Revlon, Al Dunlap of Sunbeam and Dennis Kozlowski of Tyco--all gone wild in publc displays of consumption and predatory appetites writ large".

I highly recommend the book to anyone who wants to read the truth about what may go on at the executive level at so many companies. My favorite part of the book comes at the end. Mr. Byron includes a story of Reginald H Jones who preceded Jack Welch as GE's chairman and CEO. It was Jones who chose Welch as his successor at GE. On his deathbed in early 2004, Jones uttered his final words to his wife Grace. Grace wrote down the final words and the words were read at a memorial service for Jones. The words ..."Leadership requires ethics, morals and values..."