No One Even Heard Of This Company Till I Dragged Us Into A Corporate ScandalCommentary • Opinion • crime • scandal • media • bosses • business • ISSUE 41•19 • May 11, 2005 By Darrel Greunwald, CEO, Tevcom Darrel Greunwald CEO, Tevcom Gentlemen, hello. Sorry I'm late. I had a hell of a time getting in the front door. Can you believe all those cameras? It's a zoo out there. You practically need a helicopter to... Okay, why the long faces? Great, everyone's mad at me. Hey, before I caused this corporate scandal, no one had even heard of Tevcom. Our investors and our clients? Okay, yes, those are a few people who knew our name. But who else? Our brand recognition was zilch among average Americans—unless they mowed our company golf course or gave rubdowns in the spa up on the 45th floor. But when someone says "Tevcom" now, there's not a person in the room who doesn't think "national telecommunications firm." Yes Schmidt, a "national telecommunications firm that defrauded investors of billions of dollars through insider trading, falsification of records, and securities fraud." But we made the front page of every important newspaper in the country! Tevcom! Above the fold! We're going head to head with a war, and who got the bigger typeface? You can't buy publicity like that. Johnson, $5.2 billion isn't the cost of the publicity. It's the total we're going to pay out in fines and legal fees. The publicity is priceless. Come on, guys. The press hasn't been all bad. Those stories about our $7 million Caligula party made us look like total players. Sting's performance, the Kobe beef appetizer trays in the bathrooms, and the Venus ice sculpture that lactated White Russians? We redefined what people thought about the old, boring telecom industry. And no matter what they're saying, those parties were valid business expenditures. We must've cinched four or five deals that night. So, you guys are gonna turn your tails and run like squirrels because Jay Leno made a joke about our monthly board meetings in Aruba? It's not like no one else in the industry gives incentives to their employees. You, Kirkson: Look me in the eye and tell me that you didn't earn your $2 million bonus. That money was my way of saying I believe in you, Kirkson. Won't you believe in me? I can see now that I'm not going to get one bit of thanks. Do you think it's easy to get on C-SPAN? The government doesn't put just anyone in front of a congressional subcommittee. Thousands of Americans saw me get dressed down by Chuck Schumer. That's right, United States senator Chuck Schumer. In calling my actions "a disgraceful abuse of the public trust," he used the company's name 14 times. What? The employees should be happy. Now when they tell their in-laws where they work, it'll lead to some dinner conversation. Tell the drones their stock will go back up once we get this mess sorted out. And if it doesn't, they can sell their Tevcom-logo paperweights on eBay. Our "Tevcom Pride" company-picnic T-shirts are probably going for $50 a pop. Shit. I wish we hadn't burned all those memos. We could've gotten a boatload of money for those. Come on, you Suzies. What's the worst thing that could happen? Some of us might have to do a little time? Boo hoo hoo. Hard time in a country-club prison. And when we get out, we'll make a king's ransom on the lecture circuit: "Ladies and gentlemen, I was at the top, until everything came crashing down. I've learned a hard lesson and I'm better for it." Now give me my check and I'll be on my way to the Sheraton executive lounge. Fine, if you're all going to be this way, let's get this meeting over with. Ooh! Real quick, though: When you leave tonight, if you plan to cover your face, make sure to wear your Tevcom windbreaker.