Barron's profile of Home Depot CEO falls into old trap of biz journalism
TheStreet.com’s Marek Fuchs critiques the profile of new Home Depot CEO Frank Blake in the latest issue of Barron’s and comes away with the impression that it’s a story that would have been right at home in the 1990s, when business journalists were making rock stars out of CEOs.
Fuchs wrote, “If you ever read a profile of The Business Press Maven that portrays me as committing an act of kindness for a little person, a member of the great unwashed, don’t rush out to buy stock in me just yet. Be mindful that a reporter was tagging along with me when I did the good deed for the little miscreant, and I knew it would make a good anecdote, even a lead. Maybe the reporter wasn’t even around. I could have extended the kindness in full public view, knowing that a reporter would use the second- or third-hand tale as an anecdote, even a lead.
“Enter a Barron’s puff-file of Frank Blake, the new chief executive of the embattled Home Depot. And let The Business Press Maven say, Blake might be a good, modest man. He might even, like Mother Teresa, one day be put on the fast track to canonization.
“But all that matters to investors is, in very specific terms, what he plans to do to turn Home Depot around — and in a troubled housing market, no less. That’s why a storyline built around a worshipful single anecdotal lead about how a current leader is a good guy — and so unlike the last guy — can mislead investors like little else.”
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