Thursday, April 22, 2004

So good I've posted the lot

This one from Piers Ackerman in todays Daily Telegraph was so good that I have reporoduced it in full here.

"Do we really want a work in progress

April 22, 2004
Before Mark Latham tries his hand at running the country he should follow Charlie Bell's example and flip a few burgers.

CHARLIE Bell, the new global head of McDonald's, and Mark Latham, the new federal Opposition Leader, were born in Sydney just four months apart.

The different directions they have taken since birth are telling.

Charlie Bell started working part-time at 15 at the Kingsford McDonald's and was the youngest store manager in Australia by age 19.

Mark Latham worked as a part-time glassie in a pub as he was helped through an economics degree at Sydney University by a group of his father's friends, a number of whom remain quite bitter about what they believe was his penchant for political betrayal.

By the time he was 26, Latham was embedded in local government as Liverpool City councillor.

Mr Bell, who did not attend university, was a vice president of McDonald's by the time he was 27 and on the board by 29.

By then he had worked for the company's European development arm in Germany and with joint-venture partners in Sweden, Norway, Holland and Belgium. He was McDonald's Australia managing director by the time he was 33.

By the time Mr Latham was 33 he was in Federal Parliament.

His experience consisted of working for a number of current and former Labor politicians. He had left Liverpool City Council, where he had been a councillor for seven years and mayor for three.

According to evidence given to Professor Maurice Daly's commission of inquiry into the ill-fated Oasis development by the former CEO of Liverpool Council, Brian Carr, one of the most experienced local government managers in NSW, "Latham's council borrowed heavily and used whatever cash reserves council had" to build a number of projects which needed to be resourced from the current account which caused the working capital to spiral downwards to a 15.4m DEFICIT" (the emphasis is Mr Carr's).

When he was 38, Mr Bell was appointed president of McDonald's Asia-Pacific, Middle East and Africa group. He was president of McDonald's Europe when he was 40 and appointed to the board and named president and CEO when he was 42.

Mr Latham speedily exited the looming Liverpool disaster and was parachuted into Werriwa, his mentor Gough Whitlam's former seat, just before his 33rd birthday.

He became Leader of the federal Opposition on December 2 last year when he was 42.

He has since declared that almost everything he said and wrote during the nearly 10 years he had already spent in Parliament cannot (my emphasis) be taken as a reflection of his views.

McDonald's corporate office could find no evidence yesterday that Mr Bell had refused to stand by anything he had said in the nearly 28 years since he has been working for the organisation.

No one could be found who would say he achieved his position through anything other than hard work, nor is there any evidence to suggest that he has ever talked about the rungs of opportunity.

He may have received a good grounding at Marist Brothers in Randwick but he doesn't dwell on his school years. He has been too busy.

As well as the responsible senior positions he has held with McDonald's, he has also been a member of Business Council of Australia, a member of the advisory board of the Juvenile Diabetes Foundation and chair of the Small Business Deregulation Task Force, as well as serving as a trustee of the Sydney Theatre Company and as a director of the Pact Theatre in Sydney.

There is nothing in the biographical data posted on Mr Latham's website to indicate that he has any interests outside politics.

From Monday, Mr Bell will head a global company with more than 30,000 restaurants in 118 countries.

After this year's election, Mr Latham hopes to head our country.

Mr Bell is credited with turning McDonald's around (with his predecessor Jim Cantalupo, who died suddenly on Monday).

Together they changed the company's marketing strategy, focussed on older consumers, improved customer service and introduced new menus which included salads.

Mr Latham cannot be credited with anything prior to his appointment as Opposition Leader as he his rethinking all his (sometimes contradictory) positions.

Mr Bell's corporate vision can be seen in the "I'm Lovin' It" slogan, the company's first global campaign.

Mr Latham's vision for Australia is being cobbled together from a series of old speeches written for other politicians.

Charlie Bell has worked to join an illustrious list of Australians heading significant global organisations.

People like Geoff Bible, who ran Phillip Morris, David Newby, at the Mars family company, Doug Daft, who has been at Coca Cola, Jac Nasser at Ford, and Rupert Murdoch, who runs News Corporation which controls The Daily Telegraph.

Charlie Bell has real runs on the board. Mark Latham has no runs on the board.

McDonald's has a lot riding on Mr Bell but it knows what to expect.

He was nominated by his predecessor as "absolutely qualified" to step into the top job.

Mr Latham scrabbled for his position, winning by one vote.

Mr Bell is a former hamburger flipper made good. Mr Latham heads a party which says hamburger flippers aren't in real jobs.

I think the nation, and particularly young Australians, could do with more Charlie Bells as role models and fewer Mark Lathams."

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