January 19, 2009

HEH: If only the world of business was like the world of sports.

In the NBA, teams are even quicker to pull the trigger. Six coaches were fired before Christmas – ho, ho, ho.

But, in the business world, the corporate fat cats, coddled by their obsequious boards of directors, continue to collect big bucks while their companies lose large amounts of money.

Look at the likes of Angelo Mozilo of Countrywide Financial, whose unbridled lending excesses helped trigger the mortgage meltdown; former Merrill Lynch CEO Stanley O’Neal, and Charles Prince, the former CEO who paved the way for Citigroup’s precipitous tumble.

Those three corporate titans testified before Congress last year, attempting to justify their outrageously oversized compensation packages. Although their companies lost billions in the housing markets, Mozilo received $75 million when his firm, with all its bad loans, was bought by Bank of America; Prince pocketed $68 million; and O’Neal received more than $160 million.

“The obvious question,” Senator Henry Waxman of California asked, “is how can a few execs do so well when their companies are doing so poorly?”

Good question, Senator.

You might want to pose it to your esteemed Democratic colleague in the Senate, Christopher Dodd of Connecticut, who, despite being chairman of the Banking Committee, accepted loans at special rates from Countrywide as a “friend of Angelo.”

Indeed.

UPDATE: Various readers react to Henry Waxman’s dubious promotion to the Senate in the story above. Neil Sorens writes: “On the one hand, he’s not someone I’d want in the Senate. On the other, neither are Feinstein or Boxer.” Or Chris Dodd!

And reader Greg Marquez emails: “Henry Waxman, Senator from California? It must be the pomposity that confused them.” It’s an understandable mistake, in that light . . . .

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