Monday, November 24, 2008

A Role Model of a CEO

Everyday, we face more and more news of failed US institutions that are being bailed out at tax payer expense. Ironically many of the CEO's of these mega block buster failures get to keep their excessive compensation or bonuses in spite of having railroaded their companies into the ground.

We learnt recently that even as AIG officials pleaded with government officials to save the company, they also approved a second expensive company junket where top executives went to a secret gathering at a luxury resort in Phoenix. Just in the last day we have seen another failed institution (from succumbing to its excesses of bad toxic debt) being rescued. The Citi rescue package does not do anything to change the failing management.

As I was pondering all this, I came upon this video of the CEO of Japan Air Lines (JAL) and his reactions to the US excesses. I understand that the Japanese economy has its own share of issues, however what I wanted to point out was the humility with which the JAL CEO presents himself. There is no arrogance as displayed by many US CEO's.

All I have to say is that US executives need to take a page from the JAL CEO. In striking contrast to all the excesses of the American CEOs like those at the failed financial institutions, and the recent congressional jet trip for the Big-3 auto manufacturers, the CEO of JAL rides a bus to work, sits with the rest of the employees both at his desk and in the company cafeteria and has slashed his salary to below that of his own pilots (his 07 annual pay was about US$90,000).