Tuesday, July 17, 2012

My Time at Bain

I was not one of the original investors of Bain Financial when it was founded in 1984. In fact, that year I was still an undergrad at Notre Dame. However, I did well enough for myself and the company that when Mitt Romney left the company in 2002, he retroactively made me CEO beginning in 1999.

What people forget is just what a different time those heady days were. America was attacked. At that time, we were worried that al-Qaeda could attack anywhere at anytime. In fact, one of our greatest fears was that they would target a large mall in the middle of the heartland. That was exactly the type of place where many of our investments like Sealy and Burlington Coat Factory were located.

It soon occurred to me that the best chance we had to protect our businesses from terrorists were to move them out of this country to safety. We took the same approach in moving our money overseas as well because we knew that in doing so, we were denying al-Qaeda and other terrorist organizations access to vital funding.

Mitt Romney was not involved in much of the daily operations of Bain Capital. In fact, when I told him of the jobs I had outsourced during his absence, her looked at me shocked. His only response was to begin saying, "My country tis of thee, sweet land of liberty. Of thee I sing." As I tried to explain myself, he simply recited the lyrics of one patriotic song after another and I really couldn't get him to focus on our conversation. When I finally asked him if everything was OK he simply looked at me and in his commanding almost robotic way said, "So I put my hands up, they're playin' my song, the butterflies fly away. I'm noddin' my head like Yeah! Movin' my hips like Yeah! Got my hands up, they're playin' my song And now I'm gonna be okay Yeah! It's a party in the USA! Yeah! It's a party in the USA!"

In the end, I was proud of my time with Bain. It was I who replaced the plumbing in the executive washroom with the tears of small orphans and I made a lot of companies leaner, stronger, and gave them workers with cool accents. I helped protect American investments at a very tough time in our country's history.