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Posts Tagged ‘Chevron’

“Forgive me, I must start by pointing out that 3-years after our horrific financial crisis caused by massive fraud, not a single financial executive has gone to jail, and that’s wrong,” stated Charles Ferguson as he accepted the Oscar for the documentary movie, ‘Inside Job’,  which explored the financial crisis of 2008-09.

And now a word from our sponsors – JP Morgan Chase, who ran a series of ads during the Academy Awards promoting and defending its’ small business and home lending practices.  At one point an ad even stated they would reconsider small business loans for those denied.

Talk about a ballsy “green washing” campaign and a bizarre spectacle to say the least.  It’s similar to when BP donated money to America’s WETLAN Foundation (a shell group established by Shell oil) who then partnered with a group called “Women of the Storm” to spread the message that U.S. taxpayers should pay for the damage caused by BP to the Gulf Coast.  Nowhere in the star-studded “Restore the Gulf” campaign is BP ever mentioned, but when this situation was ‘outed’ by the press – Shell along with primary “sustainability” sponsors Chevron, ConocoPhillips, Exxon Mobil, Citgo, British Gas, Spectra, Hornbeck, the America Petroleum Institute and BP – stated that the funds were for “purely scientific or ecological functions.”

Words matter.  The most powerful words have helped launch social movements and cultural revolutions around the world.  The right words at the right time can literally change history.

Harley-Davidson management could really teach JP Morgan Chase and BP a couple things about public relationships.  They understand that words matter and it’s not what you say, but it’s about what people hear.  The Global financial meltdown cost people their homes and jobs.  Many families were seriously hurt and like we now want to hear JP Morgan Chase defend their actions.  What the hell happened Mr. James “Jamie” Dimon?  You can’t be serious!  It’s clear that JP Morgan Chase could learn from Harley-Davidson who more than ever these days live the following phrases with their customers:

No Excuses” – Of all the messages used by American business and political elite, no phrase better conveys accountability, responsibility and transparency.  This phrase generates immediate respect and appreciation.

Uncompromising Integrity” – Of all the truthiness words, none is as powerful as “integrity,” but in today’s cynical environment, even that’s not enough.  People need to feel that your integrity is absolute.

If you are not enraged by the JP Morgan Chase advertising activity then you’re not paying attention.

Photo courtesy of Wall Street.  Mr. Ferguson further explains his Oscar comments HERE.

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Meetings.  Talking.  Meetings.

We’re always being reminded that political leaders, policymakers and industry leaders are “gathering” to hash out ideas on how to get the mojo back and what the key is to unlocking innovations and jobs of the future.  We’re suppose to feel good, but from my vantage there is little visible in the way of action.

The White House has made a quiet but extensive effort to reach out to corporate executives in a series of dinners and lunches at the White House with President Barack Obama.  Attendees have largely been kept secret or at minimum very quiet… until now!

Politico.com states Keith Wandell (Harley-Davidson CEO) had dinner with Obama’s chief of staff Rahm Emanuel and other top White House officials.  Another comprehensive list is available HERE.  It’s not clear if it was at an off-site local restaurant or something more elegant in the White House.  Given the state-of-the-states, I seriously doubt the motor company will be creating any new jobs soon. In fact, the recent ratified agreement calls for a drawdown of nearly 50% of the employee’s base at the York, PA operations.  Asia or India look like expansion alternatives and I suspect it won’t be long before we hear about plants being set up there.  So, what did Mr. Wandell share w/ the White House chief of staff?  Would H-D coming to the government to offer ideas on how they can help be a startling conversation changer?  Does H-D have eyes and ears on future trends that they can grab and then be able to exploit?

I’m not sure, but do you think the U.S. is still the world’s center for innovation, or is it falling behind countries such as India and China?  Fueling the debate is a new poll on innovation published by Newsweek. One interesting finding: while 82% of Chinese citizens believe the U.S. remains a technologically innovative country, only 74% of Americans feel the same way.

At any rate,  the other industry officials who joined Mr. Wandell at the June 16, Rahm Emanuel dinner were:

Penny Pritzker, CEO, Pritzker Realty
Mark Gallogly of Centerbridge Partners
Mike Fascitelli, CEO, Vornado Realty Trust
Klaus Kleinfeld, CEO, Alcoa
Dave O’Reilly, CEO, Chevron
Richard Smith, CEO, Realogy
Mike Ullman, CEO, J.C. Penney
Keith Wandell, CEO, Harley Davidson

I’m not attacking or implying that only favor-curriers are “sitting at the presidents table” but I’m not reading a lot about how the voice of the average lower and middle class American are being heard.  As the White House National Economic Council Director Lawrence Summers has recently urged attendees at these dinners to “think about what your institution should be called on to do, not in its own interest, but in the broader national interest.”

Photo courtesy of Presidential inauguration.

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