So Anthony (‘the Mooch’) Scaramucci has been fired after just ten days on the job as White House communications director, apparently before he had even been sworn in. While he has revealed himself to be a connoisseur of colorful sexual imagery, he has also shown himself to be somewhat less than a tactical genius. Consider the facts. He comes in and then immediately sets about getting the firing of the chief of staff Reince Priebus who officially should have more power than him but in reality has less. He succeeds. But Priebus is replaced by someone who actually has more clout than the Mooch, and that person promptly gets him fired because his boss Donald Trump does not show loyalty to anyone. If the Mooch had let a weak Priebus keep his job, he could have kept his own job plus have more influnce. Bad-mouthing Trump’s close confidante Steve Bannon was also not a smart move since it left him without any powerful allies.
And the Mooch’s problems do not end there. The sale of his business SkyBridge Capital has hit a snag and his wife has also just filed for divorce, so it has clearly been a turbulent time.
Chinese conglomerate HNA Group is currently in negotiations to buy SkyBridge Capital. Scaramucci announced the sale at the World Economic Forum in Davos in January, which was meant to free him of potential conflicts of interest before an official appointment.
But that sale – believed to be worth $250m – is being held back pending a government review, reportedly by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States, the agency charged with evaluating the impact on America’s national security of the sales of US businesses.
Scaramucci’s wife Deirdre filed for divorce recently while nine months pregnant with their second child. Scaramucci missed the birth last Monday because he was traveling with Trump on Air Force One.
So to sum up: after ten days the Mooch finds himself without his company, his job, and his wife. Maybe the Mooch will write a expletive-filled tell-all memoir about his days in the White House with a self-aggrandizing title like Ten Days That [insert favorite expletive here] Shook The World.
John Oliver returned from a hiatus and tries to catch up with what has been going down during in his absence but before today’s developments.
The political establishment is hoping that the firing of Scaramucci is a sign that the new chief of staff John Kelly is going to bring order to the chaos. That is a pipe dream. The chaos is because the man at the top is chaotic, not to mention reckless and ignorant and that is not going to change. It is only a matter of time before Kelly starts asking himself that timeless question: “Should I stay or should I go?” And as time goes by his inner voice will increasingly be telling him to go.
Yeah, mixing and matching the underlings will always fix an incompetent boss.
A (loose) parallel to the pipe dream is what happens at some (large) companies, including the last one I worked for, Big DummieCo: The executive(s?) decide something isn’t going right. So they reorganise the large company at considerable expense & disruption. The executive(s?) decide something isn’t going right. So they “re-brand” the company at considerable expense & lots of sniggering. The executive(s?) decide something isn’t going right. So they re-organise, again. The executive(s?) decide something isn’t going right. So they re-organise, yet again. The executive(s?) decide something isn’t going right. So they fire an entire level of management. The executive(s?) decide something isn’t going right. So they re-name the company. The executive(s?) decide something isn’t going right. So they… continue, seemingly ad infinitum.
Rather noticeably missing here is any obvious introspection. The executives remain strangely near-constant, their pay / bonuses keep rising, and the explanations for the latest action is typically terse and full of generalities and platitudes.
The last such episode I suffered through at Big DummieCo is symptomatic: The “problem” was “lack of communication” between the different “functions”, so the solution was to spit apart the various “functions” and shuffle the pieces around into new “units” “led” by the various executives. I happened to get a chance to ask some of the executives what the metric was used to measure communication, and what the metric would be used to measure the results of this latest reorganisation.
There was no communication metric other than a few e-mailed complaints about alleged instances of something bad (whether or “communication” was part of the problem wasn’t clearly addressed in the answer). There was also no metric for measuring the result, but an executive said “higher profits” could be the measure.
Naturally, I sputtered and fumed, but wasn’t able to follow-up; e.g., “There are many reasons for profits increasing, how will you determine what part of any profit rise is result of this reorganisation?”
(Another example of sorts are (often self-selecting) employee polls which don’t cover all plausible responses. A Big DummieCo example, an IT infrastructure poll asking how the IT was. The answers ranged from “Good” to “Excellent”. There wasn’t a “Poor” or “Erratic” or anything to unambiguously indicated dissatisfaction (whether continuous or with specific incidences). Utterly useless and misleading.)
Marcus Ranum says
There are so many annoying things about Trump but one of the ones at the top of my list is his tendency to expect absolute loyalty while showing absolutely none. That’s an executive behavior I’ve seen in many bad CEOs.