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Yes, as spring has moved into this long, hot summer, the news has brought us several representatives of the breed who have gone spectacularly down in flames or should soon, all things being equal. The trend is clear. It's now virtually impossible for a demented, high-profile narcissist to hold the position of CEO. That's bad news for business. Who else is going to want it?
2010-9-25 12:43

Let's look at a few recent cases of note. Tony Hayward was the CEO of BP, as the world knows, having witnessed his sheepish, ruddy countenance during the tortuous history of the gulf oil spill. During the crisis Hayward did what CEOs always do: made excuses, tried to justify his company's miscreancies, displayed contempt for idiots who didn't buy his act, and was insufficiently adept at simulating empathy for other people. This usually works for ultra-senior officers. This time around the media made lunchmeat out of him. The game has changed! Now he has his life back, as he wished.
让我们看几个最近被众人所津津乐道的例子吧。 英国石油公司的前CEO Tony Hayward,如大家知道的那样,在举世瞩目的“墨西哥湾漏油事件”中(关于此次事件的介绍可参见译文《史上十大漏油事故》——译者注),我们所看到的是他羞愧的脸色和怯懦的表情,而Hayward也做了所有CEO都会做的事——到处寻找借口,试图掩盖BP败坏的商业道德;漠视那些不买他帐的人;并且不够内行地向另外的(受灾的)人们表示同情。 这些做法对那些高管通常是有用的,但这次媒体却集体抛弃了他,如今的世道变啦!这让他又回了到以前的生活之中(失业状态),正像他想要的那样。
2010-9-25 12:43

And then there's Mark Hurd. A very capable CEO was Mark. He did good things for Hewlett-Packard after the company had suffered for years under another spectacular washout, who has now wisely decided to enter the political sphere. At first, it looked as if Hurd had suddenly morphed into a familiar entity, abandoning use of his capacious brainpan in order to follow the instructions of his naughty inner man. With fiduciary improprieties too! Amazing! Astounding! But wait. Along with his slide down the exit ramp of the airship of state came a big platinum chute, reportedly in the neighborhood of $40 million. You don't usually give that to a guy guilty of crimes against the state. So we can stay tuned on that story, with a keen eye trained on the sometimes bizarre and always fascinating HP board of directors.
然后是马克·赫德——一位非常能干的CEO。 赫德在惠普连年亏损的情况下力挽狂澜,但如今的他却只想进入政界大干一番(作者写这篇文章的时候,赫德还没有成为Oracle的联合总裁)。 在进入惠普之初,赫德看起来像是可以转变成一个董事会所熟悉的(听话的)角色,放弃他的那些雄才伟略,按照(董事会)的那些无知的董事们的指示行事,当然还有那些不正当的信托行为!太神奇了!太惊人了!但是请等一下,当他站在这艘巨艇的门口准备离开的时候,却收到了一大块价值4000万美金的“大金砖”(暗指惠普支付给赫德的4000万美元的解聘赔偿款),你应该不会把这笔钱给一个对国家有罪的家伙吧?!所以大家可以继续关注这件事情,睁大我们的眼睛,看看“始终迷人,偶尔犯傻”的惠普董事会会有哪些举动。
2010-9-25 12:43

Which brings us to Lloyd Blankfein. No, Lloyd isn't out of the catbird seat yet. But Lloyd exists at this point simply to demonstrate how deeply, dramatically, stunningly unlikable the corporate CEO can be. Every time We the People begin to feel a little bit of confidence that Wall Street just might have learned something, become slightly less greedy or arrogant? There's Lloyd. Whoever is running Lloyd's image work should tell him one thing immediately: Lloyd. Don't smile.
    接下来是Lloyd Blankfein(全球著名的投资银行及证券公司“高盛”的CEO),不要误会,他可不像上述被炒的那两位,Lloyd目前还在CEO的位子上呢!但是Lloyd的存在向我们展示了CEO有多么深不可测、多么引人注目和多么与众不同!每一次像我们这样的普通大众在对华尔街的经济态势感觉到一丝信心的时候,我们马上就会有所反应:究竟是贪心一点呢?还是傲慢一点呢?看看Lloyd吧,不管形势如何,职业的本能反应就会迅速告诉他自己:Lloyd,千万不要笑!

What, then, is to be done? What are the alternatives? Are there any? Democracy? No. I worked in a theater company once that purported to be one. It devolved into a dictatorship of the proletariat run by the most neurotic individual in our group. Government by committee? I think not. Anybody who has tried to get a decision out of a Japanese corporation knows what that process looks like, with vast, evaluative silences stretching between apparent agreements that actually mean no. How about a fully empowered board? Have you looked at your board lately? I mean, they're very nice guys, but how much time do they really devote to your situation, given their other duties and hobbies?
    那么该怎么办?我们该怎么选择呢?还有其他的选择么?这样做民主么?不不不!我曾经在一家声称要“做大”的戏剧公司工作,就是一些“无比神经”的人逐渐把这个公司从“无产阶级专政”搞成了“个人专政”,想让委员会来控制?我想是不会的。 在日本公司里,如果有人想做一个决定,他会很清楚流程是什么样的,倘若大家普遍保持沉默,那就意味着你的建议被否决了!如果是一个充分授权的董事会呢?你有没有好好审视一下你的董事权?我的意思是,他们都是非常不错的,但是针对你的问题他们到底花了多少时间(来进行了解)?而针对其他的职业和爱好他们又花了多少时间呢?

No. We're stuck. We need the position. The only answer is to look for a new kind of animal to fill it. One who doesn't cut a profile. One who operates quietly from his secret aerie. One who is capable of having fun without making a spectacle of himself. One too timorous to monkey with his expense account. One who has no need of sexy consultants. One who is willing to be trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean, and reverent to his craven board, and then, when it's over, take his $100 million package and fade away in polite silence.
    不,虽然我们面临困境,但我们依然需要这个职位!唯一的解决办法就是寻找一种新的物种(工作类别)来填补它。 从事这种工作的人,他不会粉饰自己的个人简历;他会平静地运用自己的方法管理企业;他不仅仅只会在公开场合为大家带来乐趣;他不会肆意乱用自己的报销账户;他从不需要“性感的顾问”;他愿意成为一个值得信赖、忠诚、乐于助人、友好、礼貌、善良、听话、快乐、节俭、勇敢、干净的人;他会尊重“懦弱的董事会”的意见……当然,当一切都结束的时候,他会带着属于自己的1亿美金安静地消失!

Stand back, world. I'm ready.