Cyborg Executive Officer
Fired Merrill CEO John Thain, talking back in October, about the Bank of America merger he helped to orchestrate.
He was asked about layoffs: "There will be redundancies in the combined companies, and most of those redundancies really come on the infrastructure side, so in places like IT, operations, finance—where there's an overlap of the corporate functions—that's where most of the redundancies occur. … we haven't mapped it out in terms of actual number of people, but we are committed to saving seven billion dollars across the combined platforms, and that will be a challenge."
Redundancies, corporate functions and combined platforms. It's all abstract rationality—until we get down to figuring out how many "actual" people will be let go. Then we calculate it not based on how many people we need to run the merged organization, but some number pulled out of a hat and dangled in front of investors.
Scapegoating this Fortune 500 chief lets us forget that most of the other 499 operate at this level of abstraction too—and, to a large extent, we all live our lives at the mercy of what makes "strategic" sense to these rather bad guessers.*