Is Fortune's Welch cover a reaction to his BizWeek column?
TheDeal.com executive editor Yvette Kantrow wonders if the recent Fortune cover, in which a line is drawn through former GE CEO Jack Welch’s face, is a reaction to the fact that he is now writing a column for rival BusinessWeek.
When Welch was GE’s head, he was often on the cover of Fortune for his management style.
Knatrow wrote, “Take that, BusinessWeek! Take that Mr. Oh-So-Last-Century! In one fell swoop, Fortune had just called its competitor’s management-advice guru a has-been. And it also blithely dismissed nearly every bit of management wisdom it and the other business glossies have doled out and celebrated for the past 20 years or so without, despite its claims to the contrary, offering anything real, substantial, or actionable, to replace it. Read the thing, and the villian of the piece doesn’t turn out to be Welch as much as a concept that Fortune and its demigods (most famously Warren Buffett) have been preaching for years, and that is the cornerstone of our whole system of corporate governance â€” managing for shareholder value.”
Later, she pointed out, “Like most of the business press, at Fortune, management is all about creating shareholder value and paying homage to its kissing cousin, shareholder rights. But perhaps the magazine is sensing a shift in the zeitgeist. After all, the hedge funds â€” and we all know how nasty they are! â€” have wrapped themselves in the cloak of shareholder value to monitor managements, pressure CEOs and agitate for change. And folks, including the media, seem to lose their taste for investor-driven capitalism very quickly when the investors are hedge or private equity funds, rather than the friendly union members or pensioners down the street. Fortune, it seems, doesn’t want to be on the wrong side of this trend.”
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