Welch Brings Something More to the Corner Office

Waiting in the terminal for our Air Greenland flight, a charter today but next May will be a twice-weekly regular service from Baltimore. I had time to read the NY Time’s profile of Jack Welch and his wife Suzy. Busy busy, they say, doing speeches for $150,000 a pop. But this business legend is more than just big bucks, as described in the story by Landon Thomas Jr.

“He gave up the pay and the perks and pays full cost for use of the GE plane that he is constantly on. If anything, these trials seemed to have softened Mr Welch, lending to him a sense of being in touch with his feelings, a quality not normally seen in male chief executives.

Earlier this fall, at a memorial service for John L. Weinberg, former senior partner at Goldman Sachs and Mr. Welch’s longtime banker, Mr Welch’s performance–part roast, part heartfelt rememberance—stood out among the formulaic, scripted eulogies.

“I love you, John,” he said, his voice cracking into a half sob as he raised his eyes up to the sky. “Thanks for being my friend.”

It was a scene-stealer and spoke to an earlier time, no doubt missed by many of today’s hunkered down chief executives, when business and friendship were easily fused. Today it’s hard to imagine a chief breaking down in public tears at his investment banker’s memorial service.”