- EVERYBODY INVOLVED IN THE SPRINT MELTDOWN. First, Sprint Chairman and CEO Bill Esrey and COO Ron LeMay got stock options even though their merger with WorldCom never happened. Then, Ernst & Young sold them a suspect method of avoiding taxes. The Sprint board forced out Esrey and LeMay, yet the desired replacement, Gary Foresee of Bell South, had an 18-month non-compete clause. Where are the Keystone Kops when we need them?
- COCA-COLA’s DOUG DAFT. Since the death of Roberto Goizueta, Coca-Cola had been wandering in the wilderness. But current CEO Doug Daft seems to be leading the venerable company back onto the path of righteousness. Earnings are up and volume is up. Bottled water, not the fizzy stuff, is one major reason.
- GENERAL MOTORS CEO RICK WAGONER AND FORD CEO BILL FORD. Hey, guys, is anybody watching Toyota? While you two are beating each other’s brains out with 0 percent finance deals, Toyota just doubled its profit and announced plans to build a pickup plant in Texas. Gentlemen, it’s time to rev your engines.
- THE MOUTH OF THE SOUTH. We harbor some fondness for Ted Turner. After all, he started off with billboards to create a media empire. But let’s face it-he lost control of CNN, lost Jane, resigned from AOL Time Warner in a huff and lost billions of dollars of personal wealth in the process. Oh, well, Ted. You always have the bisonburgers.
- CORNING’S JAMIE HOUGHTON. He came back from retirement to rescue Corning from the fiber optics collapse. After having to lay off almost half his employees, Houghton is saying Corning could return to profitability in the third quarter of 2003. Here’s hoping the whole sector can recover from its near- death experience.