Saturday, August 25, 2012

An Ox and a Moron?

Halfway through the morning coffee I came across Duncan's post on the grifter society. That an arts administrator might claim a salary so far in excess of the annual budget of the small arts groups I can lay any claim to once administering boggles.

But a further thought meditated on the title Chief Executive Officer. Somewhere late in the sixties this locution became trendy, and then de riguere, in place of the title 'President'. It was part of the moves that took top management compensation into the stratosphere. It appears to be an interesting feint.

In the way of things corporate power is nominally wielded by a Board of Directors who delegate their powers to the President. The President runs the operation, with the consent of the board. The military analogue is a Captain of a ship. Said 'Captain' [a title, not necessarily a rank] may report to an Admiral, but still runs the ship.
Assisting him or her is a second in command titled The Executive Officer. Every officer aboard may execute orders, indeed, that is their function, but only one is 'The Executive Officer'.  To call him a 'Chief Executive Officer would be an offense even to the Navy's love of verbal redundance. To call the Captain a Chief Executive Officer would offer a heinous demotion insulting to military honor or gloire or some such.
So, in an epic Uriah Heap move, our quondam president offers to titularly demote himself to Chief Executive Officer for a slight increase in compensation by a power of ten, or so. And, with complete humbleness would be delighted to remove the onerous duties of Chairman of the Board from the Board's weary care including adding to their compensation and a promise to vote likewise for each Director at their own company. All CEOs together!