Not enough has been made of the fact that three mega-bank CEOs could not be bothered to get to a meeting called by President Obama in Washington, D.C. yesterday. Lloyd Blankfein (Goldman Sachs), John Mack (Morgan Stanley) and Richard Parsons (Citi CEO Vikram Pandit was already not bothered so he was sending the chairman) called in delayed because their commercial flight was fogged in. A frequent traveler myself, I know how frustrating this can be. But surely with all of their money and resources they could have found another way to travel? There is a train - the Acela Express. There are limos - it is only 227 miles says Wikipedia. And despite the vitriol it might have inspired in the chattering classes, there are private planes that can be chartered at a moment's notice. But wait. Why didn't they tag along with (J.P. Morgan's) Jamie Dimon on the corporate jet? Poor old Jamie had to face the music alone (OK, with 9 other CEOs).
One of the things I learned in my (mediocre state university) business college was that you have to behave responsibly in order to get and keep a job. That came as useful advice when, for example, I had an early morning meeting or conference in Madrid or Oslo. I would go there - gasp - the night before. The company paid for the hotel room to make sure that I arrived on time and fresh. Imagine that. And last time I checked there were hotels in Washington, D.C. Plus I believe despite the credit crisis Citi, Goldman's and Morgan Stanley executives still have expense accounts. In my opinion there is just no excuse for not making that meeting. It makes the three CEO's look disorganized, or arrogant. Or both.