Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Capital Meets Capitol

Here is a sobering thought for all CEOs and board members: "Washington is now the financial capital of the U.S." The CEO who made that observation appended this remark with "God help us."

That comment was voiced at the annual board meeting of the Wharton School's SEI Center for Advanced Studies in Management, from which I have recently returned. I am reminded of that comment every time I see the head of Goldman Sachs' Washington office, aka Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson, leading the day's news developments. 

This is the world we're in at the moment. Plan accordingly ... and, as my CEO board colleague cautioned, God be with us.

The SEI Center, by the way, is headed by Prof. Jerry Wind, a thought leader in numerous business areas, including corporate governance. He authored what I like to call a "seeing around corners" cover story (pictured here) for Directors & Boards three years ago that asked the question, "Can one board do it all?" His well-argued answer was "No." Drop me a note and I'll share a copy of the article with you.

Incidentally, also overheard at the SEI board meeting: "One-third of the House and Senate members don't have passports." Let me append to that, "God help us."