At this writing, our nation finds itself in a severe financial crisis. It is for this reason that I would like to be considered for the position of chief executive officer of the Morgan Stanley Corporation. I have enclosed my most recent resume for your perusal.
A cursory glance of my CV will reveal that I have little or no experience in the financial arena. Indeed, I have spent the last 25 years of my career as a creative director and copywriter in the advertising industry, including 11 years at TBWA\Chiat\Day. My work has been responsible for generating millions and millions of dollars in higher sales, greater market share and increased brand awareness. I would cite specific numbers, but frankly I don’t know them. Numbers tend to bore me. During pitches, when the media and account people start discussing P&Ls, frequency rates and ROI, I will often start texting friends at other ad agencies, or play games on my iPhone.
That is not to say that I lack all financial acumen or the ability to negotiate a deal. One time a Lexus dealership charged me $1,400 to replace a timing chain. I did some homework and found out the procedure should have cost half that amount. A finely worded letter to the Lexus home office resulted in a $700 refund. That’s a full 50 percent reduction!
Naturally some members of your board may not be inclined to pick a CEO from an outside field. But if Washington, D.C., has taught us anything and, as both presidential candidates have pointed out, we live in a time that is ripe for change. We need a “maverick” spirit.
It should be noted that I have other leadership attributes that qualify me for this important position.
For instance, I am an excellent listener and pride myself on the ability to build consensus. During a recent remodel of our master bedroom, my wife and her three, rather opinionated sisters wanted to paint the walls a chocolate/taupe brown, which I felt was a bit too dark. I listened to their input and was able to convince them to go with a lighter, earthier tone in the nutmeg family that, by all accounts, is quite “gorgeous.”
Many of the board members have no doubt seen how copywriters at advertising agencies are portrayed in movies and on television. I’m sure you’re already picturing me as some kind of slob in a T-shirt, shorts and flip-flops. While it is true that I have shown up at work with a two- or three-day stubble, you should know that I also possess a two-button Brooks Brothers Madison, their top-of-the-line 100 percent wool suit.
Finally, let me add that I know I am a long shot for the position. I’m no fool; I graduated from college, sort of. And though I couldn’t tell you the difference between a variable annuity and a zero-coupon yield, I do know I couldn’t do any worse than the previous CEOs at Lehman Brothers, Merrill Lynch, Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae.
Unlike those scoundrels who bankrupted their respective companies and walked away with $15 million golden parachute checks, I would work for a base salary and, subject to negotiation, a relatively miniscule $2 million severance package.
So you see, by putting me in the position of chief executive officer, Morgan Stanley is in one fell swoop already $13 million in the black.
I thank you in advance for your consideration and look forward to discussing this in the near future.
Rich Siegel is a freelance copywriter and the author of Tuesdays With Mantu, My Adventures With a Nigerian Con Artist (www.tuesdayswithmantu.com).
An Open Letter to the Board of Morgan Stanley