January 1 1992 by Joe Queenan
THE NEW CORPORATE FRONTIER: THE BIG TOWN MOVE TO
By David Heenan, McGraw-Hill, 262 pp., S19.95.
It had to happen. In the past decade or so, there have been books suggesting that corporations relocate their headquarters to the
Well, actually, the Greater Scranton-Wilkes-Barre metropolitan region, but you get the idea. Yes, in David Heenan’s provocative new book, The New Corporate Frontier. The Big Town Move to
Though some executives might be startled by the suggestion that they should pull up stakes and relocate to Scranton, a once-dying coal town that last enjoyed notoriety in the Flapper Era when bootleggers were active here, The New Corporate Frontier is actually a very interesting, extremely well written book full of useful, thought-provoking information. Heenan, the chairman and CEO of Theo H. Davies, one of Hawaii’s original Big Five companies, and a man who happens to have served on the faculties of both the Wharton School and the Columbia University Graduate School of Business, believes that “U.S. corporations are demonstrating a clear and growing preference to domicile in smaller, relatively remote townships… as part of a prevailing national trend to redistribute power-organizationally as well as geographically.”
Heenan further contends: “Command has shifted from, and will continue to shift from, the center (traditional, monolithic headquarters and large cities) to the periphery (so-called mini-headquarters and small- to medium-sized communities).
In making his case, Heenan has a tendency to mix apples and oranges.
Heenan is aware that he is fighting an uphill battle in seeking to persuade a predominantly urban corporate population to jettison their Andy of Mayberry prejudices and give small-town
“Heartland values are definitely in,” he writes. “Business Week recently declared
Business Week, of course, is the magazine that ran a cover story in the summer of 1988 wondering whether George Bush could “come back” against Michael Dukakis. Oh, boy. Business Week is the magazine that in 1984 ran a gloom-and-doom story about the government bond market scant weeks before the biggest treasury rally of the decade exploded. Rule of thumb: Never make a major corporate decision involving hundreds of millions of dollars and the lifestyles of thousands of employees on the basis of something you read in Business Week.
And be very careful when betting against
Oh, really? You want depression? Try finding something to do in downtown
Or check out that great symphony orchestra in
And, while you’re at it, give us a full report on those wonderful pennant races that go down to the wire in
We’ll be waiting on Broadway.
Joe Queenan is a contributing editor for Chief Executive.