Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Jack Welch, or not 
Jack Welch came to speak today. I won a ticket in the lottery but then gave it to a sectionmate of mine who actually used to work at GE but didn't get lucky in the lottery. I decided it would be better for me to just go see the simulcast in one of the classrooms so that I could read cases and use my laptop if I wanted. Unfortunately, the HBS IT people couldn't get the simulcast server up and running, so I guess I'll wait to see how the speech went and if it was good I can always watch the taped footage later in the week. HBS has a pretty cool online video archive and they're pretty good about putting speakers online soon after the speech.

It's snowing, by the way. In mid-April. Whatever.

Update: I watched most of the Jack Welch interview today. Rakesh Khurana, the guy who wrote The Curse of the Super Star CEO, interviewed him for about 30 minutes before Welch got frustrated and decided to take questions from the crowd instead. The main points of contention were over executive compensation, the growing divide between the rich and poor, and those type of questions. Anytime Welch didn't have an answer he would turn the tables and ask pointed and difficult questions to the interviewer. It was interesting, but I don't think I would like to work for the guy.

My favorite part was when Khurana asked him about excess executive compensation and Welch replied that it was due to market forces. Khurana asked how market forces were to blame when many executives short-cut the process through cozy boards and biased compensation consultants. Welch apparently had no answer, as he asked why Harvard professors take raises and consult and take paid speaking engagements. When Khurana pressed on the point Welch cut off the interview and went to audience questions.

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