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Imagine taking off by jet from Philadelphia.
When the wheel is recovered, a sound comes through p. a.
System: "Stuart Sanders, this is your captain.
I'm in charge of your flight.
Of course, because I don't like planes, I'm not on them.
I spoke to you from my limo on my way to dinner.
But I will be responsible for your flight and I will take full responsibility for your safe arrival.
"Your Pilot, Al Perlman, loves planes and will usually be on the plane with you, but he doesn't like me or the navigator, or for that matter, the rest of Philadelphia, considering his grind and seniority, I asked him to fly the plane remotely from New York.
Of course, he can't make any major changes to the basic flight plan without my approval, but he is flying the plane and he can call me at the party if there is any emergency.
Your pilot is David Bevin, and he's not on the plane either.
Between you and me, sir.
Neither Perlman nor I trust David Bevan.
He thinks we don't belong to the airline and he won't let us spend money to keep our plane healthy.
Well, it's just a little bit of a background that makes you feel comfortable. . .
Settle in now, enjoy your flight and thank you for driving the Penn Central plane.
You think I'm joking: Read the remains of central Pennsylvania by Joseph R.
"Philadelphia Gazette" reporter Daughen and Peter Binzen.
Over the years, whenever I say that any smart Philadelphia housewife who is interested in the job will become a better ceo than James Roche and most other CEOs, people have always doubted me, as long as she has a week's class, she will expect these idiots when she reports to work.
"The remains of the center of Pennsylvania" does not add to our knowledge of James Roche, but it confirms the general principle.
Here are some things that our Housewives won't tolerate in the center of Pennsylvania:1)
For the CEO, they chose Stewart Sanders, the president of Norfolk and the West, who had a taste for a good life and promised everyone to reach an agreement.
The winter of 1970;
A decline in high interest rates;
Loss of government mail business
All reasonable excuses
But the real question is, "Why are they doing these stupid things?
The answer to this requires understanding of the normal board of directors of large companies.
Part of the corporate landscape is a group of important people who don't know the first thing about the business: external directors.
Together with the director of the office, they formed the board of directors.
Typical outside directors are businessmen, bankers, nobles, celebrities or retired government or military officials.
Advertising they all have one thing in common: they have a firm belief in the effectiveness of non-functional functions called board meetings.
This is a monthly meeting of the chief executive's friends and well people who gather together to impress each other with their importance (
"When I met the president last week, he said, 'Fred. . . ’”)
And, to the extent that they can understand, to chatter about these issues, to hear superficial comments about the state of the economy, to complain about labor costs, to stamp the proposal, to approve the actions of the chief executive, collect the fees and then go back to their various businesses until next month.
Do you think the directors of Penn Central have thought about, in the name of reason, how can any outsider spend 40 hours a year in this scenario and know exactly what's going on?
I remember having served a board of directors where one learned to sleep and wouldn't fall off a chair.
The problem is that he did not learn how to keep his eyes open and how to avoid snoring. Deafening.
Another member of this prestigious group needs eight martini glasses to stun himself, so that he can get through the trivial, mediocre and bland nonsense that makes up the General Board.
Orderin 8 singles or 4 doubles may have caused unnecessary attention, so he worked out a code with the waiter at the luncheon club: his "special" martini
What I want you to understand is that this is normal.
For example, no one with traditional board experience would be surprised to learn that at the last board meeting in central Pennsylvania --
The person they submitted their petition under the bankruptcy law --
The first business is to increase the salaries of some officials. (
They were approved: Let's quickly admit that some companies have dumped the most embarrassing old foofs out of the board.
But this is just scraping the Moss off the rock.
They got stuck with the stone.
"The remains of Central Pennsylvania", if read extensively enough, could lead to a rethink of the whole concept of the board and its relationship with the Chief Executive Officer.
For example, a new federal law could be considered that requires a public Director for every company with one billion or more assets.
If you don't want a public director, you should do it when you don't have a billion dollars.
The public supervisor will have an office here with millions of dollars of company money each year to hire his own employees.
He will be notified of all meetings and he can attend the meeting or send a staff member to the meeting.
All doors and documents are open to him or his employees and he will be required to hold two press conferences each year to report on the status of the company and its impact on the public.
Remember, he will be full time for management, not a 40 hour smokescreen.
A congressional committee may approve public directors;
Once approved, they will be assigned to the company in batches and rotated every four years.
By the way, there are thousands of qualified public directors in this country.
But you have to be careful.
The public director must be honest in order to be important (
There is no price for selling public goods by the river);
It's hard enough to fight GM;
So experienced in the way of big companies that he knows when he is being lobbied, tricked or just covered with heavy snow;
Intelligent and reasonable; energetic.
I repeat that there are thousands of qualified Americans with these qualities.
If one of them is a board member of Penn Central University, the book will never be written. The P. C.
The director is quite typical when I look at the list: decent, well-meaning, ordinary intellectual people: but they are prevented from doing their work by the power of custom.
It is considered rude to ask and seek answers to questions that may embarrass the chief executive.
Bad form-out of bounds—
The old man did not do it at all.
A director who joined P. C.
Quoting the board of directors of December 1969, "They sat with [the] big chair on the 18 th floorbrass name‐]
They have a bunch of plates on them. Well, I 'd better not say that.
The trouble must have been caused by the board.
They charged and did nothing.
People have just been sitting there in the past few years.
The poor at the University of Pennsylvania [Gaylord P. Barnwell]
He never spoke.
They did not know the pictures of the facts and did not try to find out. ”“W. O. T P. C.
"It really blew the myth of the board.
This proves that the board is worse than anything because they give the illusion that someone knows what's going on and is in bed with management when management is honest.
Whether you choose to be a public citizen selected on the Prometheus liver with Ralph Nader or like Andrew (
"The end of the American era ")
Hacker, your conclusion is that as long as you are on the Titanic, you 'd better go to first class and it's your own responsibility to read this book.
It's time to let you know that these villains are not nameless.
They are directors and senior management of our largest organization.
Your main villain is always the lifestyle of Chief Executive Officer and his factory owner.
He's surrounded by his partner.
The 40-hour company fantasy Miracle of the year-elections, re-elections and protections suggest his circle of friends
Members of the board.
In the highly respected tradition of the maid, they worship him, satisfy his self, and confirm him in his shortcomings.
It seems to me that an honest public board of directors benefits other external directors for life.
As a catalyst, he will create a miracle of enterprise reform.
He may have even saved the center of Pennsylvania.
A version of this file appears on Page BR3 of Sunday Book Review on December 12, 1971, titled: Philadelphia housewives could have done better.