Welcome Back! And SAL
Welcome back, Cranky Friends. Since last we spoke, more than a month ago, I've been busy getting set up at my new job, elsewhere in the media world but at a publication that publishes a little more often than once every three months. So I haven't had time to post. And I'm still not sure that I do. But I'll try anyway. So, without further ado, a welcome back SAL.
Scott Carson. The Boeing chief salesman has been working miracles (subscription only), on track to surpass Airbus in new orders this year. After falling behind the state-subsidized European aircraft maker in recent years, Boeing is making a comeback, aided by a compelling new model (the long-range, mid-sized B787) and important changes to the structure of Boeing's sales team, empowering more people to make decisions in dealings with clients. Contrast that with Airbus, who's competing A350 is a disaster with wings (rather than doing intensive pre-design customer research a la Boeing, Airbus has opted to tinker throughout the design process; no wonder the plane is already behind schedule and over budget), and whose sales team is dependent on sales chief John Leahy (which is why it ground to a halt for a time when he went into the hospital for an appendectomy). No wonder no one wants the A350.
Eliot Spitzer. The over-reaching New York state attorney general got a well-deserved slap from a jury in the case of Theodore Siphol, a former Bank of America broker who allegedly broke the law by engaging in "after-hours" trading of mutual funds. Except that, as the jury noted, the activity in which Siphol engaged (he didn't deny that he had done it) wasn't actually illegal. Mutual funds are only priced once a day, and although that occurs late in the day, the law is ambiguous about whether that time should mark the end of the day. Many brokers had thought that it didn't, and "after-hours" trading was quite common until Spitzer decided that he wanted to run for governor, er, I mean until an observant crusader for the little guy realized that small investors were being taken advantage of. As the Wall Street Journal noted in an editorial yesterday, this case is also significant because it marks one of the few times Spitzer has actually had the balls to take a case to a jury, and that jury saw right through him. I say, if he wants to run for governor, more power to him. But he shouldn't clog up the courts (and ruin reputations and shareholder value) to do it.