Wednesday I caught a story on NPR's Morning Edition that lingered, and not in a good way. Reporter David Gura presented a story about how corporate boards have difficulty telling their top executives not to engage in risky activities. One executive Gura interviewed, former GM executive Robert Lutz, expressed his feelings thus:
ROBERT LUTZ: I will tell you, I encountered these restrictions my whole career, never took them very seriously and got away with it for 47 years.
GURA: He also liked skiing and motorcycles. And Lutz owned and flew two fighter planes. When GM wanted Lutz back for another big job in 2001, this came up, and Lutz remembers what he told the board.
LUTZ: I'm happy to rejoin the company. I'm happy to assume the post as vice chairman. But I need absolute freedom as far as my hobbies are concerned.
GURA: Lutz says he got that absolute freedom. And he flew those jets until he was 87, by the way. He had to stop two years ago when he failed an eye exam. Lutz thinks more executives should be daredevils.
LUTZ: As opposed to, you know, calm, peaceful guys who never want to put themselves at risk, always drive at the speed limit, drive a minivan as their only vehicle and so forth - who the heck wants a person like that to lead a corporation or be in a leadership position at a corporation?
Imagine that: an old, rich white guy who thinks only people like him should run corporations. No wonder America has so many problems! And that's only my first thought on why this guy pissed me off so much.
By the way, if you're 87 and have to fail an eye test to stop flying planes, that's not just putting yourself at risk; that's putting everyone at risk. No wonder GM did so well in the the early 2000s.
Did Gura not follow up on Lutz's outrageous statement because he figured the listeners would fill in the rest? Or did Gura drop the ball here? I'm tempted to ask NPR.