Sunday, February 07, 2010

CIT believes in the passive

When you use an active sentence, you are forced to give a sentence a subject in English.

Mary kicked the ball.
The Saints won the Super Bowl.
The executives of major financial companies either made serious mistakes or presided over wide-scale fraud leading to the collapse of the world financial network and the disappearance of millions of jobs.

If you work on Wall Street, you apparently do not like the active voice. Instead you prefer the passive.

The ball was kicked (by Mary but only if you can prove it).
The Super Bowl was won (but no particular people were responsible for that).
The collapse of the world financial network and the disappearance of millions of jobs ummm just happened. (The executives at the time certainly didn't do anything to bring it on.)

And so CIT group has just hired as their new chairman and CEO the former head of Merrill Lynch, John Thain. You may remember Merrill Lynch. Last time we saw it, it was collapsing into bankruptcy. A stalwart financial company of over 100 years, a bellweather and safehaven, dying quickly with billions in unsecured investments about to go poof. The government pushed it off to Bank of America and then Bank of America was bailed out to keep it all going. Who was the head of Merrill Lynch during this catastrophe?

John Thain, of course.

Here's his resumé from the Yahoo AP article:

"Thain, 54, served as chairman and CEO of Merrill Lynch until its sale to Bank of America was completed in January 2009. He resigned under pressure from the combined company after reports he rushed out billions in bonuses to Merrill employees in his final days as CEO, while the brokerage was suffering huge losses and just before Bank of America took it over.
Prior to Merrill, Thain served as CEO of the New York Stock Exchange and president and chief operating officer of Goldman Sachs."

It's an impressive resumé no doubt. Particularly since no one at NYSE, Merrill Lynch, or Goldman Sachs did anything wrong. So there you go. For presiding over the destruction of Merrill Lynch, he gets hired to direct the new CIT group.

That financial collapse was just so unfortunate. No one really did anything to bring it on and there's no one to blame. And so on we go... in the passive.

8 comments:

moonrat said...

"umm just happened"

good point.

Peter Dudley said...

Ah, but true masters do not need the passive to deflect blame and obscure responsibility. Allow my children to illustrate:

"Dad, your guitar broke."

"Dad, your tools are all rusty. It rained last night."

"Dad, your cell phone doesn't float."

"Dad, your credit card isn't working for this web site. Which is weird because it was working this morning."

pacatrue said...

Your children are indeed masters and I now live in fear.

sylvia said...

That press release is masterfully done.

But yeah, PJD's kids are scary.

blogless troll said...

That financial collapse was just so unfortunate. No one really did anything to bring it on and there's no one to blame.

Also, no one could ever have foreseen it. It just snuck up on everyone.

Robin S. said...

Pete's kids are brilliant!

The financial collapse was orchestrated by everyone and their mother - regulations re forcing lending practices to people who couldn't afford home ownership, to shitty bankers who took advantage for the short term, not thinkning sbout the long-term effects or anyone else, for that matter.

It's weird, I know usury and fucked-up mad greed at the expense of anyone else has been going on since people formed tribes, BUT, I think it's gotten worse, at least from the perspective of my lifetime, in the last couple of decades. The culture is all about looking 'big'. Kinda makes me sick.

writtenwyrdd said...

Guess what? You win the Name My Gall Bladder contest. If you email me your addy I'll send you a nifty prize. And thanks. I want to make this whole process as amusing as possible. ;)

writtenwyrdd said...

I am also in terror of Peter's children. I'm even more glad I never had any, as I don't think I have it in me to deal with 18 years of their wiles.