July 1, 2010

Joe Cassano and Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain: Take Your Pick

Joe Cassano is not apologizing to anyone. The former AIG executive who helped bring the world economy tumbling down says he did nothing wrong. His underwriting standards never changed: he never saw any risk in underwriting those collateralized debt obligations (CDOs). And if AIG leadership had had the cojones to keep him on board after the proverbial waste matter hit the fan, he would have cut the tax payers a better deal. He would have stuck it to the financial institutions that AIG was so anxious to insure. You want tough - Joe will show you tough!

Joe has avoided an indictment (he walks), and now he testifies (he talks). In his own not-so-humble opinion, he is blameless in the collapse of the worlds's largest insurer. When the final story is written about AIG, it will confirm what we have suspected all along: Cassano is not too bright. Tough, yes. Greedy, yes. Arrogant, for sure. A leader of men (and women, only because he has to), not so much. Self-aware and reflective: you gotta be kidding.

In Search of Leadership
When the great men and women of the revolution founded this country, they wanted freedom from tyranny. I imagine they also envisioned generation after generation of principled leaders to further their original goals. It's highly unlikely that Joe Cassano is what they had in mind.

As we approach the nation's birthday this weekend, let's (somewhat arbitrarily) shift our focus to a real leader: Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain, the prodigiously gifted general whose improvisation on Little Round Top turned the tide in the civil war. The Washington Post is running a series on leadership; here is their (video) take on Chamberlain's actions at Gettysburg.

The Insider extends to all our readers the wish for a fine holiday break. Amid the fireworks and family outings, pause for a moment in gratitude to those who brought us to this moment. In times of great need, great leaders have often emerged. Who knows, perhaps the same will eventually be said of these challenging times.



In 1993 Jeff Daniels was amazing in his portrayal of Joshua Chamberlain in the movie, "Gettysburg." It was truly inspirational.

Do you know what Daniels next movie role was? Harry Dunne in "Dumb and Dumber." I'm not sure what that means other than Daniels is a versatile actor. Happy Independence Day.

Under this person's direction, AIG put us in the deepest recession in generations. Many people lost their life savings. What is his punishment for this? He walks away a millionaire, faces no jail time, and basically gives the finger to the American taxpayers that had to bail out this reckless corporate behavior.

If AIG were a Chinese company, he would have been executed for his actions. Here, he is a free millionaire. I'm not advocating we become like China...but a little middle ground between nothing and death would be nice.


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This page contains a single entry by Jon Coppelman published on July 1, 2010 11:56 AM.

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