Daily Archives: February 25, 2008

John Gapper

I was pleased to see John Micklethwait, editor of The Economist, comparing the Financial Times to General Electric as a training ground of editorial management talent. A shame that he did not credit me but perhaps great minds think alike.

John Gapper

Today being National Corporate Philanthropy Day in the US (the first I had heard of it, I have to admit), I went to a gathering of chief executives whose companies give money to good causes or encourage employees to volunteer.

I had a chance to quiz three of the CEOs there – Jim Rohr of PNC Financial Services, Ivan Seidenberg of Verizon and Sidney Taurel of Eli Lilly – about their companies’ involvement in something that, on the face of it, does not benefit shareholders.

Famously, Milton Friedman argued that “the social responsibility of business is to increase its profits” and that a lot of corporate philanthropy was at best misguided, although some could be justified if it served other corporate purposes, such as increasing the loyalty of customers. Read more

John Gapper

The other day, Bob Lutz, the General Motors vice-chairman in charge of product development, described global warming as “a total crock of shit”. He went on to say his views on the subject made no difference to his commitment to producing energy-saving cars, including the Chevy Volt electric vehicle.

Mr Lutz did not make clear whether he did not believe in global warming per se, or merely not that it was exacerbated by CO2 emissions. In any case, he said, he believed in reducing energy consumption in order to make the US energy-independent. Read more