The CEO bubble, it would seem, is more impervious than even the most cynical
of us might think. According to an anonymous
speechwriter, these masters of the universe are inaccessible even to those
who are paid to write their very thoughts:
A colleague of mine who had written about 50 speeches over 10 years for a
boldfaced name-brand C.E.O. discovered this very painfully. Finally ushered
in to meet the great man for the first time, she proudly found herself introduced
as the scribe who had written a particular speech.
This really does beggar the imagination: someone writing 50 speeches for a
man over the course of 10 years, and never meeting him once the entire time
– not even at the very beginning, to get to know him. Of course, since
both the author of this piece and the speechwriter in question are anonymous,
it’s hard to work out how much credibility to ascribe to the anecdote: is there
any good reason why a speechwriter should himself remain anonymous, if he protects
the identity of his clients?
But I asked a friend of mine who’s done a fair amount of speechwriting for
CEOs over the years, and he said that although it "sounds ridiculous, it
Which just goes to show how out-of-touch CEOs can be. If they don’t even talk
to their own speechwriters, how on earth do they keep in touch with developments
in and around their own companies?