Bad Company: The cult of the CEO
Black Inc., $12.95 pb, 104 pp
The Big End of Town: Big business and corporate leadership in twentieth-century Australia
Cambridge University Press, $59.95 hb, 310 pp
There is something uncommonly beguiling about a business writer who can insouciantly intersperse his argument with references to Eugene O’Neill and T.S. Eliot. Gideon Haigh is such a man, and the tale he has to tell is wonderfully seasoned by his intelligence and literacy. But that does not make its logic compelling.
Bad Company displays an almost tabloid preoccupation with the excesses of certain charismatic CEOs: particularly, in the local context, Ray Williams of HIH and the Wizards of One. Tel. But to suggest that these fallen idols are typical Australian CEOs is like describing Helen Darville as one of our typical novelists, or Ern Malley as a typical poet.