Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Is it real? or is it from The Onion?

Pop quiz: I'm going to give you two actual quotes from recent news stories, and you need to decide which one is from a real business story, and which one is a satire from The Onion.

1) Bank of America Corp, the biggest U.S. bank by deposits, will leave Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Ken Lewis in charge as the company tries to absorb the operations and losses of Merrill Lynch & Co.

“The board today during their regular meeting expressed support for Kenneth Lewis and the Bank of America management team, noting their experience in managing through challenging environments and in assimilating mergers,” said lead independent director Temple Sloan in a statement supplied by the bank.

I mean, come on - that CANNOT be real can it? BAC's board of directors actually thinks it's a good idea to leave Ken "I'll pay you $20 billion for that pile of shit" Lewis in charge? Really? Bad idea jeans!

2) CHICAGO—While a majority of the nation's top retailers have reported a decided slump in 2008, economists studying the declining consumer markets are still unable to determine if discount clothing store T.J. Maxx has been affected by widespread recession.

Financial analysts, observing more than 100 locations nationwide, cited large quantities of off-brand and wildly scattered merchandise as evidence that T.J. Maxx has either been devastated by the economic downturn, or is carrying on as usual in spite of it.

Seems like it could be legit - I mean, TJ Maxx always looks like it's in a complete state of disarray, as if the store has just been ravaged by a tornado.

Correct answers are in the comments.



Kid Dynamite said...

yes, Story 1 is the real one, and story 2 is from The Onion. It's mind boggling that a board of directors could stand by someone who has demonstrated such unparalleled value destruction as Ken Lewis has in the past 24 months. Doesn't this open the board up to liability in shareholder lawsuits?

Anonymous said...

The worst thing to ever happen to corporate governance was directors and officers liability insurance. D&O for short.

I love how Obama has to tell Citi to cancel the Falcon order. And Wall Street paid out 20 billion in bonuses for '08. Yeah, they really get it. They're all very concerned, just as long as they still get paid. Aren't "bonuses" for superlative performance? Not on Wall Street they aren't.