When in doubt, when shaky, you can always turn to one reliable source to get your name out there: The media.
It worked for former nobodies such as Monica Lewinsky and Joe the Plumber. Now, AIG CEO Ed Liddy is using the media to redeem both his company and profession’s reputation.
Liddy has an excellent cause, and a good point. Mad Money talkshow host Jim Cramer is under fire for telling people to harass AIG employees. That kind of talk is so inane that I can’t imagine many CEOs would feel compelled to respond, under normal circumstances.
But these aren’t normal circumstances. Liddy is capitalizing off a priceless opportunity to gain widespread approval. The letter below certainly convinced me of his competency (Allstate experience aside). Here’s the full text, as posted in the Wall Street Journal:
Dear Mr. Cramer,
I was deeply disappointed last Thursday when you urged your viewers to harass AIG employees, saying:
“We should hound them in the supermarket, we should hound them in the ball park, we should hound them everywhere they are. We should make fun of them and we should point fingers at them and we should tell them that you have no shame.”
Those comments are outrageous. I demand they be retracted and that you apologize to AIG’s employees. It is one thing to criticize the executive leadership of AIG – that’s fair commentary. But it is way out of bounds to incite people to confront and harass other AIG employees – hard-working, dedicated people who are running good businesses and are committed to our success. The employees of AIG did not cause this mess, but they are paying for it – in diminished 401K savings and in some job losses as we sell companies to repay the Federal loan. The irony is that AIG employees did not cause the problem, but they will solve it. For that they deserve our praise and our gratitude.
I await your prompt response.
Edward M. Liddy
Kudos to Liddy for standing up for his failed giant.
Will Cramer apologize? Stay tuned.
Update: He said sorry. Good man.