Holmes Report Blog

The Holmes Report blog focuses on news and issues of interest to public relations professionals. Our main site can be found at www.holmesreport.com.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Warren Piece: The FT, prompted by his donation of billions to the Bill Gates Foundation, comments on Warren Buffet’s “other talent”: his masterful management of his own image, attributing some of his success to his relationship with Fortune’s Carol Loomis. (Loomis edits Buffett’s annual letter to shareholders, owns shares in Berkshire Hathaway and sits on the board of the foundation named for Buffett’s late wife, but as the FT is careful to note: “She is also one of the best financial journalists in the business and has always disclosed her ties to Buffett when writing about him.”)

But there’s more to the Buffet image than that. “Buffett has never been one to surround himself with armies of highly paid public relations people, but he has masterfully maintained a positive popular image as a folksy, down-to-earth guy from Omaha. This kind of thing isn’t always easy for the ultra-wealthy to do, but Buffett has done it. A reflection of his winning personality? Perhaps. But he also seems to have a certain comfort with the press that many other CEOs (or politicians) do not.”

Leslie Gaines-Ross is fond of quoting a remark Buffet made when he took the helm at Salomon Bros., then in the middle of an ethical crisis. “If you lose dollars for the firm by bad decisions, I will be understanding. If you lose reputation for the firm, I will be ruthless.”

We’d all be better off if more CEO’s felt the same way.

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