On Monday, the Wall Street Journal’s BossTalk featured a laudatory Q&A with Xerox Corp. CEO Anne Mulcahy, noting how she had turned around the company. Too bad that on the same day that the Q&A ran that the company reported bad first-quarter earnings that cut more than 5 percent off the company’s stock price, noted TheDeal.com Executive Editor Yvette Kantrow.
Kantrow writes, “But why did the Journal take the risk of running such a laudatory Q&A on the day the company was announcing quarterly results? Why not wait 24 hours to actually see those results and, better yet, address them in the piece? In the Q&A, Mulcahy spends a fair amount of time talking about the importance of taking care of customers during a corporate turnaround. But as Shannon S. Cross, an analyst with Cross Research/Soleil Investments, told The New York Times in its Xerox earnings piece, the company ‘made all the right decisions for making customers happy, but it really impacted their costs.’ It would have been nice in the Q&A to hear Mulcahy’s take on that.”
Later, Kantrow notes, “But maybe that’s not the function of the WSJ’s softball-lobbing Boss Talk. On Wednesday, the paper boasted a Q&A with Henry Paulson, CEO of Goldman Sachs Group and a big interview ‘get.’ That’s especially true these days, after Paulson’s remarks to Goldman bankers to be more ‘careful and thoughtful’ about their involvement in hostile takeovers touched off a slew of unflattering stories about the firm making unsolicited bids for its advisory clients, competing against them in auctions, and generally courting conflict. So the Q&A’s headline, ‘Goldman CEO Tackles Critics, Touchy Issues,’ as well as its illustration, which labeled Paulson ‘trader,’ ‘investor’ and ‘adviser,’ were all very provocative. It seemed Boss Talk was going to tackle the white-hot Goldman conflict issue head-on.
“Well, not exactly.”
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