Good morning, class.
Good morning Mr. Mullings.
I said … Good Morning, Class.
GOOD MORNING MR. MULLINGS!
Today we're going to discuss a pretend, made-up, invented, fabricated case which you, as senior-level Public Relations majors will have to fix. Are you up for this?
YES, MR. MULLINGS!
Here's the case. A major industrial segment - which has only three domestic players - is in financial distress because of decades of bad decisions. They want the Congress to bail them out to the tune of $25 billion. The Congress has bailed out other bad actors - AIG to make a point - with hundreds of billions of dollars so this particular industry segment feels fairly confident they will get the dough.
Questions. Yes, Furbush?
Mr. Mullings, would this case pertain to the auto industry?
Furbush, you clever devil. It is, indeed, General Motors, Ford and Chrysler.
To continue, the CEOs of what are now laughingly called "the big three" fly into Washington to make their case to the appropriate Congressional Committees. How do you think they got from Detroit to Washington? Anyone? Anyone?
Mr. Mullings, you know how we hate when you do that Ferris Bueller business.
Point taken. If you were the head of any of the major domestic automobile manufacturing companies' public relations department what would you have recommended?
Take a commercial flight?
Good! First class or coach. Remember Ford has closed 17 plants and laid off more than 51,000 employees over the past three year.
Yes, well. They didn't do that. Anyone else? Yes, Mr. Dimwitty?
They flew first class?
Not a bad guess but no. Someone else want to give this a shot? Miss Gotrocks?
They shared a private plane?
That, I think, might have been defensible. But, sadly, that is not what they did. Ok. I'll tell you what they did. Each Chief Executive Officer of the each of the three major American car companies took his own private jet from Detroit to Dulles Airport to attend the Congressional hearings during which they were going to beg for $25 billion.
Seriously, Mr. Mullings. How did they really get to Washington? Train?
No. They really, actually each flew in their own private multi-million dollar jet plane. The Ford guy doesn't even live in Michigan, much less Detroit. According to ABC's Brian Ross,
Alan Mulally actually lives in Seattle, not Detroit. The company jet takes him home and back on weekends.
You would think that the board of directors over at Ford might have thought it might have made some sense for the company's CEO to live within commuting distance to the office.