October 9 2007 by Francis Adams
Fake Fortune 500 CEO blogs, and the real ones!
The fear of an unhealthy explosion of blog havens notwithstanding, debates and discussions over whether CEOs should blog are on both within the mainstream media and the blogosphere. Irrespective of the brouhaha, some “real” CEOs are using them to speak for the companies they head as well as for themselves. Away from it, fake bloggers are desperately trying to seek attention following the success of “Fake Steve Jobs”, that is, until he was outed by a New York Times reporter. So, we have fake blogs on more tech CEOs: a Fake Larry Ellison blog; the secret diary of Bill Gates; Steve Ballmer; Jonathan Schwartz. The “real” Jonathan Schwartz though seems to have inspired other Fortune 500 CEOs, such as, Marriott International CEO Bill Marriott, who is wooing readers with his “Marriott on the move“. Meanwhile, the temporary hold on Whole Foods CEO John Mackey’s blog may be lifted as a special committee of the Board of directors of the company has pledged its support for Mackey after completing its investigation into the CEO’s online message board postings about the company and competitor Wild Oats. Mackey’s blog readers though will have to wait until the findings of the board are ratified by the Securities and Exchange Commission. Elsewhere, Forbes magazine editor Daniel Lyons who intended to publish “Options: The Secret Life of Steve Jobs” under a pseudonym, has contacted book stores and arranged readings ahead of the book’s November 1 release.
CEOs’ way of saying “sorry”
How many CEOs would willingly acknowledge their error or guilt in today’s complex corporate world? None, maybe! Yet there are those who have mastered subtle ways of putting it across, at least when making public statements. The Wall Street Journal’s Dennis K Berman picked some of such sound bytes offered by investment bank chiefs after last week’s staggering third quarter results in his Deal Journal. Titled “Mea Culpa: When Wall Street CEOs Say Sorry“, Berman makes his blog funnier to read by using a classroom method of “Match the Wall Street earnings mea culpa to the bank or chief executive who said it.” Quite obviously, his blog has attracted encouraging response, with one posting drawing attention to corporate ties of the Board at Merrill Lynch that may play a crucial role in helping the company bounce back from a tough quarter. Alex Lidow was another CEO who was in the spotlight as International Rectifier Corp announced his exit. Even as reports attributed the cause of his departure due to an internal investigation uncovering “unsubstantiated” sales at a foreign unit, speculation was rife over what seemed to be “unanswered questions.” One such blog by Michelle Leder headlined “Lots of questions at Int’l Rectifier” attempted to explore “what role Lidow’s father, the 94 year-old founder and chairman of the company had in his son’s ouster” adding that “it was interesting to note what standard language was missing from the agreement: the right of either party not to sue.”
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