Spencer Soper and Jeff Green, Bloomberg, February 8, 2019
Jeff Bezos pre-empting the National Enquirer by laying bare embarrassing personal details may have been the easier task. Now the world’s wealthiest man needs to convince investors that locking horns with a powerful American media organization won’t end up hurting Amazon.com Inc. itself.
Bezos, Amazon’s single largest shareholder, stunned the industry Thursday night when he accused the Enquirer of trying to blackmail him, publishing tense exchanges with the magazine that included prurient details of his relationship with former TV anchor Lauren Sanchez. The saga now threatens to snowball, exerting even more pressure on a billionaire who already oversees the biggest online retailer, a space exploration company and a leading national news outlet.
For now, investors have shrugged off news of his personal life as unimportant to the value of the company, which posted revenue of $233 billion last year and a record-breaking holiday season. Now that Bezos has twice jumped in front of embarrassing news, the challenge is in maintaining the perception he can focus on his company’s growth.
“Bezos is that extraordinary, and Amazon is that extraordinary, that he can bring down a bully,” said Davia Temin, founder of the New York based crisis-consultant Temin and Co. “He’s got the courage, and the position as the richest man in the United States, and I think his courage in standing up to the extortion is going to outweigh the details behind the extortion.” […read more]
Eve Tahmincioglu, Directors & Boards, September 10, 2018
The Air Force is reportedly looking into Tesla CEO Elon Musk’s recent appearance on a popular podcast because it appears to showing the embattled executive smoking marijuana.
It’s the latest in unusual behavior by Musk, including a tweet storm last month when he claimed he wanted to take Tesla private and then changed his mind. The claims apparently surprised the company’s board; and they prompted a Securities and Exchange Commission inquiry.
Clearly, Musk marches to the beat of his own drummer, but in cases like this, what’s a board to do?
Corporate crisis and reputation adviser Davia B. Temin, CEO of Temin and Company Inc., weighs in:
There have always been “force-of-nature” CEOs. These are the geniuses who single-handedly build or propel organizations to new heights of innovation, achievement, profitability and impact. As a society, we tend to revere them, as much for their sins as for their sainthood. But, as directors, we are plunged into a conundrum. How much leeway do we give them, and when do we need to pull in the reigns? […read more]
When boards are in awe of founder CEOs, bad things can happen. Just ask former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder.
If Holder was to sum up the board’s role in the cultural meltdown at Uber that almost derailed the company, it is that directors gave too much deference to founder/CEO Travis Kalanick. This is something, he says, that boards need to pay particular attention to in an era of superstar founder/CEOs and unicorn valuations.
“It used to be that the board might either tolerate bad behavior, or publicly support a CEO while privately chastising him relentlessly. Regardless, he or she would stay,” said Davia Temin. “More recently, however, given the outsized attention to serious CEO misbehavior, boards really have little choice—they must react, and act, quickly and decisively.” […read more]
Elon Musk may have said what many frustrated chief executives — eager to talk about big visions or new strategies rather than answer questions about capital expenditures — dream of saying in response to financial analysts’ wordy questions: You’re boring. Your questions are dull. Next.
But that doesn’t mean they say it — or would ever be advised to. Yet in Tesla’s epic quarterly earnings call Wednesday, Musk did just that.
Even if Musk is known for his unconventional approach, that doesn’t mean he has to be that way in every circumstance, said Davia Temin, a communications and management coach on leadership issues.
“If your personal brand is as an iconoclast, there’s a tendency to want to be seen as an iconoclast on everything, but that’s not what really works,” she said. “You want your product to be the thing that stands out. Not your demeanor on an earnings call.” […read more]
Alexander C. Kaufman, The Huffington Post, August 19, 2017
A deadly attack by an avowed white supremacist shocked the nation. The president’s response came swiftly, and triggered raw emotion. Despite a sometimes strained relationship with the White House, corporate board rooms stayed silent, spared the need to weigh in.
That was 2015.
This week, chief executives at some of the country’s biggest companies tossed out usual protocols and disavowed the sitting commander-in-chief after President Donald Trump refused to single out the white supremacists and neo-Nazis who rallied in Charlottesville, Virginia, last weekend.
Of course, distance from the leader of the ruling political party won’t cost executives their jobs like it might lawmakers facing reelection in an era of hyper partisanship. At a particularly circus-like time in politics, this gives companies the ability to “become the adults in the room,” said Davia Temin, a management coach and reputation consultant who worked with some of the companies whose leaders resigned from Trump’s councils this week.
“Business has a planning and strategic horizon that is further out than four years or eight years or 12 years,” she told HuffPost. “They can actually have a counterpoint and be the counterbalance to the short governance by tweet.” […read more]
Scarlet Fu and Julie Hyman, Bloomberg, August 16, 2017
In today’s “Walk the Talk,” Davia Temin, head of the crisis-management firm Temin & Co., reacts to President Donald Trump’s decision to disband two advisory groups of U.S. business leaders. She speaks with Bloomberg’s Scarlet Fu and Julie Hyman on “Bloomberg Markets.”
Vanessa Fuhrmans, The Wall Street Journal, August 15, 2017
President Donald Trump’s response to the weekend violence in Charlottesville, Va., has sparked a new round of soul-searching in U.S. corporate boardrooms over whether they should keep working closely with the White House.
On Tuesday, the number of members who have withdrawn from a White House advisory council grew to five, and executives including Wal-Mart Stores Inc. Chief Executive Doug McMillon criticized the president’s initial unwillingness to specifically denounce the racist hate groups that rallied in Charlottesville over the weekend.
The fallout is testing already-tense relations between the White House and corporate executives, many of whom face new pressures from employees, consumers and activists to take stands on social and political issues. At times, those issues have put them in direct opposition with a president whose pro-business agenda they are also seeking to shape.
“This is one of the toughest times for the consciences of corporate boards and corporate CEOs,” said Davia Temin, head of Temin & Co., a reputation and crisis-management consultancy. Ms. Temin said she expects more leaders to resign their advisory posts. […read more]
Jeff Green and Jared S. Hopkins, Bloomberg, August 15, 2017
Could America’s first CEO president lose America’s CEOs?
It was a question that came to the fore again Monday when first Merck & Co.’s Kenneth Frazier, then Under Armour Inc.’s Kevin Plank and Intel Corp.’s Brian Krzanich stepped down from a White House business group set up to advise Donald Trump.
While none mentioned the president, Frazier, one of the country’s most-prominent black chief executive officers, quit the council as Trump was being assailed for failing to quickly condemn white supremacists for deadly violence at a rally Saturday in Charlottesville, Virginia. Frazier said he was acting on a “matter of personal conscience.”
Frazier and his compatriots joined the ranks of Elon Musk of Tesla Inc., Bob Iger of Walt Disney Co. and Travis Kalanick of Uber Technologies Inc. — executives who walked away from business panels Trump touted, taking the unusual steps of publicly distancing themselves from a sitting president.
Who’s next? That’s the big debate, said Davia Temin, head of the New York-based crisis-management firm Temin & Co. “This conversation is viral in boardrooms right now.” […read more]
Merck & Co.’s Kenneth Frazier, then Under Armour Inc.’s Kevin Plank and Intel Corp.’s Brian Krzanich stepped down from a White House business group (Manufacturing Jobs Initiative), per Bloomberg’s Jeff Green. While none mentioned the president, Frazier, one of the country’s most-prominent black chief executive officers, … said he was acting on a “matter of personal conscience.”
As for Intel’s Krzanich, his Twitter account was peppered [yesterday] by pleas for him to quit the White House group.
Who’s next? Davia Temin, head of the New York-based crisis-management firm Temin & Co: “This conversation is viral in boardrooms right now.” […read more]