Romney as a Leader

  1. Ψ Share
    Related topics:
    Romney's Core Nature

    Scott Romney   Mitt Romney's older brother

    (Text only) Six years older than Mitt Romney, Scott Romney is a fundraiser for his younger brother. This is an edited transcript of an interview conducted on August 9, 2012.

    Read the full interview »

    He does seem to have this sort of confidence or sense of self. Where do you think that comes from?

    I think he's a unique individual. I think everybody in my family has a pretty good intellect, but Mitt has an ability to analyze and see the heart of issues and delve into it perhaps more thoroughly than some. And you see it all the time. He just thinks differently.

    When he left to run against Ted Kennedy for Senate, his partners came to me and said, "We need him back." I said: "Why do you need him back? You've got the brightest people from all the schools in the country at Bain." [They] said: "Because he asks the toughest questions. If we could get a deal through him, we knew it was going to work," because he knew everything to think about that was a positive or a negative with the transaction.

    I've seen it time and time again, how he conducts meetings, how he conducts staff meetings that I have a privilege of going to every now and then, and they bring ideas to him. He's challenging. He asks them the proper questions. He just is a person that is able to bring a different analytical spirit to it and encourages them to do the same. And [he] then is able to make a very good decision.

    And is that something he had all along?

    I think a lot of it. ... I think he did have it all along.

    You know, when ... he was 16, I was 22. My parents put us in a hotel someplace. ... Mitt and I were going to be there for three days, and Mitt said, "Well, Scott, why don't we change our rooms to the cheapest rooms in the hotel, the smallest, cheapest rooms in the hotel, and then we can use the rest of the money for food?"

    You know, 16-year-olds don't always think about that. He's always thinking about different ways of doing things. It's just in his nature.

  2. Ψ Share

    Scott Romney   Mitt Romney's older brother

    (Text only) Six years older than Mitt Romney, Scott Romney is a fundraiser for his younger brother. This is an edited transcript of an interview conducted on August 9, 2012.

    Read the full interview »

    He got into a horrible car accident.

    He was in a horrible car accident. He was driving a car, and the woman next to him was the mission president's wife, and she was killed. And the man next to her, who was of course her husband, and Mitt ... he was knocked out of the car onto the ground. The person coming the other way was drunk and crossed way over and hit them head-on.

    And he was dragged out, and the policeman looked over and said, "Il mort, il mort” -- “He's dead, he's dead." Mitt woke up in a ward with a bunch of people -- because other people were so injured in the accident they were taking care of them -- and he didn't know where he was. And then for a period of time he didn't have any feeling in one side of his face. It took a while for that to come back. ...

    How do you think that experience impacted him?

    Oh, I don't know how that impacted him. I think he knows about the seriousness of life and the importance of life.

    It's interesting to me how he transformed from being somebody that enjoyed so much life and always enjoyed life -- he's always enjoyed life. ... But in high school, he was spending his time doing pranks and fun things, and when he went to college, and then when he went to graduate school, he decided, "I'm going to be the best I can be at it; I'm going to do everything the best I can be."

    And he made a commitment to himself to work hard. And I think part of that comes from that experience of going overseas and seeing other people and having life-threatening experiences and deciding what you're going to make out of your life. And he decided he wanted to make the most he could out of his life and worked as hard as he possibly could to do that.

    And when he went to the consulting business, he did the same. He worked harder and longer hours than others, and really worked hard to think about it. He would talk to me about the issues that they were dealing with -- without revealing the companies -- and would provide some of the thoughts and insights and the way he'd go about thinking about them.

  3. Ψ Share

    Scott Romney   Mitt Romney's older brother

    (Text only) Six years older than Mitt Romney, Scott Romney is a fundraiser for his younger brother. This is an edited transcript of an interview conducted on August 9, 2012.

    Read the full interview »

    ... What's amazing is that after going through such a traumatizing experience, he didn't sort of curl up in a ball. He became a leader. Talk to me about what those qualities are in your brother that allowed him to do that. ...

    I think that my dad was a leader, so we got to see what a leader does, and it's a nice advantage. It isn't the sole thing that gets you there, because it's not enough; you've got to be a leader yourself. But Mitt learned the qualities of leadership.

    But then he exhibited them. To be a leader, you have to care about the people you work with. You have to really care, and you have to care about the issues that you're confronting. And that's critical, because you have to care more about it than anybody else, and you have to be an example to the others in doing so.

    But you have to care about the people that you're working with, or they're not going to respond. And he showed respect for them, learned how to extract the best ideas and the best talents of others and to use that so that they can accomplish a common goal.

    And he knows how to inspire people. What's interesting about people working on his campaign, I've had three or four of them say to me: "You know, I've worked on other campaigns, and the longer you work on a campaign, the more cynical you become about the candidate. The longer I've worked for Mitt Romney, the more I've respected him; the more I've come to honor him in terms of the kind of person he is and what he can accomplish. This is somebody that really can lead this country and lead the world."

    You've talked about the transformation of those two years. It sounds like he came home with direction.

    I think it's a gradual thing, and it took place longer than just those two years. And probably falling in love and then getting married had something to do with it as well, and having a wife that supports you and encourages you in everything that you do as a team is important, and then realizing that you have kids and you have to set an example for them.

    All of those things move you toward deciding what is important and what's serious in life and what you're going to devote yourself to in terms of your serious pursuits. And so that's it.

    But Mitt is a remarkable leader in terms of being able to pick people that can get things done. It's very tough for him to select you to work for him. He's very demanding, and he really wants people that have special ability to get things done. He really can determine who can do a job well and who can't do a job well.

  4. Ψ Share
    Related topics:
    Mormonism

    Dane McBride   Friend, fellow missionary

    A Virginia physician, McBride has been friends with Mitt Romney for more than 40 years. The two met in 1966 while serving as Mormon missionaries in France. This is an edited transcript of an interview conducted by producer Gabrielle Tenenbaum on July 13, 2012.

    You talk about using that as a motivating force. And you all came together and really sort of made it your mission to also succeed, and succeed above and beyond. Talk to me about that period of time and how you came together to help boost up the spirits of the others that were there with you.

    Well, again, recognizing what spring had been like, and then the accident, and all the bad news coming back from the U.S. of upheaval that was going there, just as there had been in France -- kind of similar, not on the same scale -- there was a pall over the mission. Missionaries were not -- they weren't looking up as much. You didn't see the happy, smiling, typical happy faces of the Mormon missionaries like one usually sees.

    At that point we'd had some goals of new converts to the church during the year. We'd been earlier in the year on a pretty good track there, and then it kind of flattened out. And as Mitt became the senior assistant shortly before I had come onboard there in the mission home, we started talking about what do we do about this? So there was an analysis of what was the matter? What do we do about it? How do we lift spirits? How do we effectively challenge people to higher performance?

    So we decided to do all of the above. One of the things that we did was that we wrote some songs that we set to music, popular tunes, some stories of what was going on in the mission in different cities. ...

    So we made up these songs and put missionaries' names in these things. But in Angoulême, to the tune of "We Three Kings of Orient Are," we put together a little song that was -- which I actually won't sing right now -- but anyway, it was very clever. And it caused people to just holler and laugh and just get outside themselves again. And there were about 15 such songs that we did. And they were fun. It was fun making them up; it was fun performing them. We had found some vaudeville outfits that were in the basement of the mission headquarters where they had a play one time, and the three of us, Bill Ryan, Mitt and myself, donned these vaudeville jackets, straw hats, red vests and billed ourselves as the Righteous Brothers. We performed these songs. It was fun. It was laughter again. And it seemed to uplift and brighten spirits.

    At the same time, we took the serious side of it as well, and that is we'd go from city to city meeting with missionaries there, talking with them about what's involved in leadership, maybe [ask] a district leader there, "What is your responsibility?" Talking about how you motivate, how you uplift, how you challenge.

    And then Mitt did something that I think was really remarkable, is actually very typical of him, but it was I think a surprise to everyone. He said: "In order to get all of us to really do our best, we've got to do something that's going to cause us to do differently than we've been doing. Let's raise the bar. Let's raise the goal."

    Here it was, Sept. 1 or so, and we were only halfway to the goal. He said, "Let's raise it by 40." And so we went from 160, the goal became 200, so in the last four months to have 120, whereas in the first eight months there had been 80.

    And that did help to motivate. You couldn't just keep doing what you're doing; you had to do something different. You had to do something better. And so the missionary companionships would plan together better; they'd be more serious about what you do differently, how we'll improve. And it was effective.

    I saw that later on, and we can get to that later. But I saw that later on when we were at BYU [Brigham Young University] together as well, that Mitt showed that kind of leadership.

    As someone who had struggled to get -- you know, it's not easy getting people to listen, let alone converse. When he raised that bar, do you remember your reaction and [that of] the people around you? Was it well received, or was that extra challenge something that you all were a little, you know --

    I was fine with it. I was there as a part of it. And we read Think and Grow Rich Together, so this made all the sense in the world.

    But our job was to then sell that idea and motivate others to move up to that. And that was an interesting and a fun challenge. And it was very gratifying to see -- again, these are 19-, 20-, 21-year-old young men stepping up and doing this. Again, in the process of that, just great bonds, like brothers in arms together. Some of those friendships have, again, lasted over decades and decades.

    As you work together, as you come together, as you succeed together, it's a great experience. And Mitt was a great leader of that, better than anyone I've ever known before, or since really.

    Why? Tell me about that.

    Just his personality. The fact that he had thought things through well. He presented things in a very logical and persuasive and convincing way.

    But you also knew that he had the energy to do what he was talking about. It wasn't, "You guys go out there and do this." He then demonstrated with them. After we teach and train, we then go out and work together. And he made it fun. And people responded to his leadership.

    Do you think that's something that's just inherently in him, part of who he is? Or do you think that period of time for him with connecting to his faith and growing and being independent and being a leader, it all came together? How do you see that balance?

    I think he always had that innate ability. I think that this schooled it and disciplined it and directed it, focused it. Whereas before there had been pranksterism or one thing or another, now it was really directed toward very worthy goals and to really uplifting people, and realizing that that was a great key to leadership is to uplift and inspire. And he did.

    And you achieved your goal.

    We did. ...

  5. Ψ Share

    Dane McBride   Friend, fellow missionary

    A Virginia physician, McBride has been friends with Mitt Romney for more than 40 years. The two met in 1966 while serving as Mormon missionaries in France. This is an edited transcript of an interview conducted by producer Gabrielle Tenenbaum on July 13, 2012.

    His leadership sort of continued at BYU as well. And it seems that from that point on he was kind of on a trajectory of success. Is that a fair--

    Yeah, it is. It's a fair thing. While we were at BYU, Mitt was called into a leadership position within the church organization as well. He was a top-notch student, was a valedictorian. He had assistant pastoral responsibilities then as a student. He was a counsel to the bishop that makes him an assistant pastor, for all intents and purposes.

    Plus he was the head of the Cougar Club, the BYU Cougar Club, this organization which would usually -- it was kind of a leadership group. In order to get into it, you needed to have some leadership credentials, some things you had done either as a missionary or maybe in business, or having been a student body officer in high school or something like that. And that was part of your application. You made an application to join it. At BYU they don't have fraternities, but they had these service clubs, and so you apply to get into them, and you're selected in or not, just like you would have in a fraternity kind of thing. So this was a group of leadership-oriented individuals. They were all young men at the time. It was a men's club, like a fraternity would be.

    This organization, admirably, would raise $10,000, $12,000, $13,000 doing all kinds of things: luaus, bake sales, mum sales at homecoming, sponsor a dance and so forth, to raise money. And we raised quite a bit of money. This was in 1970-71. So it was already admirable the level of fundraising they were able to do.

    Mitt becomes president. He says: "Guys, why don't we leave a real legacy to this school that we love? Why don't we raise $100,000? And put it in place so it can be repeated year after year after year." And guys with this leadership mentality said, "Mitt, you can only do so many luaus a year." And he said, "No." He said: "Let's do something different. Let's approach the administration" -- and again, I assume that's how that worked, but -- "We'll approach the administration, see if they will give us contact information of everybody who's ever matriculated through the school, and then set up phone banks. There are not enough of us to do this, but we'll get hundreds of other students to do this, and to volunteer, come in during certain hours and set up these phone banks, and then call and ask for $5, $10, $25, $100, whatever somebody can afford to send."

    Now that's done very commonly now, and most of us get multiple calls from our alumni offices. And I went to a few different schools, so I get several. But that was not commonly done then. I don't know if it was the first time that it had ever been done. I don't know that it was a new idea. It was new to us on campus there.

    So we did that. The goal was reset. Motivation -- be there rallying the troops, showing them how. Mitt was again positive, fun-filled, laughter and congratulations, and "Oh, great," and all this kind of stuff, and building some competition in the process and so forth.

    In a year we raised a $100,000-plus.

    And I remember Mitt saying to us, "Guys, if we can do this," he said, "and we put this in place, if we can do it this year, it can be repeated year after year. And when we're old men, 40 years old, we'll be able to look back and say, 'We did that.'"

    Did you have any question that this man would be successful?

    No, I was confident he would. In fact -- though I didn't say it to him, because I knew that he did not want to -- he never talked about a political career ever that I recall. And there were people who wanted to suggest that he should do that. And I saw him back away after his father's experience. He didn't seem to want to go down that road at all.

    But I said to people, "If one day Mitt Romney does not become president of the United States, this country will be cheated." I saw him as a tremendous leader. And that was at a young age. And I wasn't alone. There were others who did also. But Mitt didn't really brook conversation about that. ...

  6. Ψ Share
    Related topics:
    Mormonism

    Philip Barlow   Mormon historian

    (Text only) A professor Mormon History & Culture at Utah State University, Barlow worked with Mitt Romney in the leadership of their Massachusetts Mormon ward. This is an edited transcript of an interview conducted on July 19, 2012.

    Read the full interview »

    Explain to me the role that Mitt Romney was asked to take on as bishop of the ward, and what the responsibilities were that came along with that.

    A Mormon bishop is a pastor. There's no professional clergy within Mormonism, so he's not getting paid, and it's not a full-time job. And he, like everybody else there, was a very busy man professionally, of course, and in his family life. But to be a bishop means to take a dozen or 15 hours a week, donated, to be the pastor of the congregation organizationally and spiritually, and as a counselor.

    So he would take time with individual families when they have questions or having to make some important decisions in life, or they're having a marital crisis or loss of job or a daughter has been diagnosed with cancer, as a pastor would in many situations.

    And organizationally, the bishop is in charge of the worship services, of planning the worship services, of staffing the congregation. Because Mormonism is a lay operation, that means everybody more or less in the congregation has a calling or a job, a task, to look after, but they have to be called and authorized for those callings, to look after the young women's organization or the young men's organization, the children's organization, or the elaborate visitation process or the welfare concerns. So there's quite a bit to it that he's looking after.

    Although Mitt was extraordinarily efficient and half-genius in diagnosing problems and working through them, still, he's, like any other bishop, having to navigate those chores.

  7. Ψ Share

    Philip Barlow   Mormon historian

    (Text only) A professor Mormon History & Culture at Utah State University, Barlow worked with Mitt Romney in the leadership of their Massachusetts Mormon ward. This is an edited transcript of an interview conducted on July 19, 2012.

    Read the full interview »

    Give me a sense of what his strengths were as a leader, and how he led others.

    He was a very busy man and accomplishing a lot in the professional world. I was studying religion and didn't have my fingers on the pulse of the business world, but one heard the echoes enough to know that he was a rising superstar in that arena. I heard that from a lot of people who worked in the field, not necessarily even at Bain & Company.

    Though he would have the pressures and time constraints associated with something like that, in our meetings he was organizationally efficient, and we can talk more about that. But he was also very hands-on when the need arose.

    I remember being impressed, as I felt desperate for time, moment to moment in my life, facing general doctoral exams and obviously he was busy. But one Saturday morning early on we were in the midst of our two-hour Saturday morning meeting, and it came to our attention that there had been a storm in, I think it was Somerville, a suburb of Boston, and someone's home, a single woman's home, had been damaged.

    And while Mitt could have marshaled an army of people, because Mormonism is exceptionally organized, if nothing else, to go address that, on that occasion he said: "Brothers, I'm not doing anything more important after this meeting than that. Are you?" And the implication was, "I think we'll go address that immediately, shall we?" So that was an example.

    We popped up, he threw us a work shirt, and he put on his holster with hammer and screwdrivers and such in it, and we drove over there and addressed it immediately.

    And while that sounds like a sort of mundane example, it was representative of how he operated. He was an efficient delegator, but he was never remote from the hands-on, getting your feet muddy, helping everyday people.

  8. Ψ Share
    Related topics:
    Mormonism

    Philip Barlow   Mormon historian

    (Text only) A professor Mormon History & Culture at Utah State University, Barlow worked with Mitt Romney in the leadership of their Massachusetts Mormon ward. This is an edited transcript of an interview conducted on July 19, 2012.

    Read the full interview »

    Talk to me about the way that he was received by the Belmont community and the members of that ward.

    Mormonism works by geographical definition. If you're in these boundaries, you're really strongly urged to attend that congregation or that ward. So, unlike many religious organizations where you might go where the pastor's sermons appeal to you the most or the people appeal to you most, in Mormonism the culture and the policy really is that you operate where you are and it's not a popularity contest. So the people tend to be very supportive of the bishops.

    He was an effective, strong leader, a quick diagnostician of problems and immediate action. He was generally admired and well received, like his predecessor, and, as far as I know, like his successor.

    But the only thing I am particularly conscious of that was in the air ... [was] the height of the '70s, '80s feminist movement. So there was nationally, as well as within Mormonism, what does this mean? The world has discovered that women matter. And there's a patriarchal order and tradition within Mormonism, so Mormonism had its own inflection of, how do we deal with this new reality? And Mitt was no exception, I was no exception to that. I presume every male in America was no exception to that entirely.

    And Boston had some strong feminist Mormon women who were on the cutting edge of exploring what that meant, ... and they were founding a new periodical of Mormon feminism, and having discussions.

    Mitt looked like the perfect poster boy of CEO patriarchal Mormon perfection, and so there was a natural tension. So I think he had to navigate those waters. But by and large, he was accepted very well. ...

  9. Ψ Share

    Scott Romney   Mitt Romney's older brother

    (Text only) Six years older than Mitt Romney, Scott Romney is a fundraiser for his younger brother. This is an edited transcript of an interview conducted on August 9, 2012.

    Read the full interview »

    We've spoken to some people who have worked for him, and they talk about it sort of is an honor.

    He was at Bain Capital, which he owned 100 percent of. He told Bill Bain, "If I'm going to run this private equity business, after the first fund, I want to own 100 percent of the general partner." And so he owned 100 percent of it. Bill Bain, who'd started the consulting business, after the first fund wasn't involved. He was an investor, but Mitt controlled it 100 percent.

    And then when Bain Consulting got into a little difficulty, they asked him to come back and take it over. And they said, "Well, we have to cut back; we have to let some people go because we don't have enough work." And they gave him a list of people, and one of them was [current president and CEO of Hewlett-Packard] Meg Whitman. He said: "Well, you know, I don't. I think she's got some real talent."

    That's amazing.

    So he has an eye for talent. And what's interesting, he's willing to delegate, because as a leader, you've got to delegate. But he's also willing to get involved when there's a need.

    And what's interesting on the finance side, where I'm helping to raise money for Mitt, we have Spencer Zwick; that's really our finance director. He's 32 years old, and Mitt has delegated so much to Spencer, and he's done such an outstanding job. But it isn't that Mitt just steps away from it. He just knows what a great job he can do and will give advice and listen to him and so forth.

    In areas I've seen him get involved because "This is something I really need to get done." When he ran the Olympics, he had to be a great leader to be able to turn it around the way he did. And yet when there was a traffic jam one place on a ski hill, he got out and started directing the traffic. That's the kind of guy he is. He's not afraid to get involved at any level.

  10. Ψ Share
    Related topics:
    Bain

    Geoff Rehnert   Bain Capital colleague

    Geoff Rehnert is co-chief executive officer of the investment firm Audax Group. Previously, he served as managing director of Bain Capital, which he helped start with Mitt Romney in 1984. This is an edited transcript of an interview conducted by producer Gabrielle Tenenbaum and Michael Kirk on June 12, 2012.

    And describe his leadership style.

    I'd say first and foremost Mitt leads by example. He is a person who never asks anybody to do something he wouldn't do himself. At least that was my experience of Mitt in the private equity business. He was running numbers himself; he was working on legal documents, figuring out how to structure investments. No detail was too small for him to get involved in, which shocked me. I never expected a person at his stature and his stage of life to dive in. He wouldn't even ask secretaries to make copies for him a lot of times.

    So he, Mitt, I think, first and foremost would be what I'd call a referent leader, someone that you look to and say, "OK, that is the way you do things."

    I'd say the next thing that really stands out about the way he leads is he is willing to make a decision, but he rarely tells people what to do. He likes to have spirited debate among the people working for him and with him. He believes that that kind of interaction leads to a better outcome than just command and control and sort of one person unilaterally making decisions. And he, I think, did a tremendous job. I think Bain Capital's track record proves out how effective that was. It was tremendously successful at Bain Capital. ...

    So as a young 20-something-year-old in that room being asked to come before him and debate, what was that like for you? Tell me about that experience.

    I was a pretty brash 26-year-old, so I enjoyed it. I enjoyed feeling like my opinion was valued and mattered.

    Mitt would argue the opposite side, even if he agreed with me, just to pressure-test my thinking and the thinking of others. He would really pressure-test it, which sometimes, if I really felt like it was so obvious we ought to do something or not do something, it would be challenging. But it really was demanding and intellectually rigorous, and it's something that developed my intellect and enhanced my capabilities enormously.

    So it's something that, particularly as time went on, I really came to appreciate, and then saw as Bain Capital grew and evolved how as we added people and as we developed competence in different areas and started new lines of business that that model really led to better decision making, better communication, and it actually got people to sort of deflate their egos. And that was a relatively novel way of managing in the 1980s and 1990s.

    Tell me what you mean by that. How did it make you deflate your egos?

    It meant that at the end of the day, the team and the organization was more important than any one of us. And Mitt put himself in that. There were deals Mitt advocated and advocated for and we didn't do oftentimes. If a majority of people didn't want to do it and could put forth intellectually strong arguments, based on analysis, based on facts, he would back off.

    So it really became about what is the right answer, what is true, not about who is more powerful than who and who is more important than who. And that's unusual in most organizations. Most businesses, that's typically in my experience not how things work.

  11. Ψ Share
    Related topics:
    Bain

    Geoff Rehnert   Bain Capital colleague

    Geoff Rehnert is co-chief executive officer of the investment firm Audax Group. Previously, he served as managing director of Bain Capital, which he helped start with Mitt Romney in 1984. This is an edited transcript of an interview conducted by producer Gabrielle Tenenbaum and Michael Kirk on June 12, 2012.

    So that was in 1990. So tell me about that story and what was asked of him.

    So in late October 1990 Bill Bain came over one day and looked pretty ashen and asked Mitt if he could come spend some time with him. And Mitt came back a couple hours later and said, "Bain & Company is in real trouble."

    Bain & Company, the consulting firm that we had all left to go start Bain Capital, had itself done a leveraged buyout, and so there was bank debt, and they had had a series of layoffs.

    If you think about the fall of 1990, it was kind of like the fall of 2008. There was the S&L crisis; Drexel Burnham had filed for bankruptcy earlier that year; the first war in Iraq was pending. So there was a lot of nervousness in the economy as a whole.

    So Bain & Company's business was falling off at the same time they were having internal issues. And there was real concern that Bain & Company itself might have to file for bankruptcy.

    So Bill Bain asked Mitt if he would step in and see if he could figure out how to resolve this. And on a dime, Mitt spent the next six months basically working seven days a week, 24/7, around the clock. And a number of us helped him out to get an understanding of what the facts were, to use the experience and knowledge we had of financing and negotiation and turning businesses around that we had at that point developed at Bain Capital to see if we could save Bain & Company.

    Bill Bain had hired Goldman Sachs to advise him on whether or not Bain & Company was salvageable, and they had said no, it was unsalvageable. It was inevitable it was going to file for bankruptcy.

    Mitt took issue with that and actually turned out to be able to get everyone to restructure their debt, get the employees to agree to stay in and stay in place, get Bill Bain and the other founders to transfer their ownership to the group of employees that stayed in place. And within about a year Mitt was able to start to withdraw and come back to Bain Capital on a full-time basis, and Bain & Company got back on its feet and has prospered ever since.

    How difficult were those decisions that he needed to make at that time to his former associates, the man who had hired him?

    I think there was a lot of emotion at the time. You have to remember Bain & Company had an enormous number of very, very intelligent, very motivated people who were very puzzled how they had wound up in this dire set of circumstances. And it took a lot of skill to defuse the emotion, to get people to sort of put aside their egos and do what was in everyone's collective best interest.

    Everyone was better off that was around the table by having Bain & Company survive. If Bain & Company had filed for bankruptcy, everyone was a loser. If Bain & Company survived, everyone would be better off than they would be without it going out of business.

    So there were a lot of people, any one of whom of a large number of people who could have single-handedly forced Bain to go into bankruptcy, and Mitt was able to get them to stand still, to work through it, to come up with a workable compromise. And it required an enormous amount of skill, diplomacy, energy and tenacity on his part. ...

    What were the tension points? How close was it? Was it really dicey and scary?

    Oh absolutely, yeah. I mean, emotions were at a fever pitch. There were a group of founders who had taken a dividend who were asked to put money back into the business. There were a group of vice presidents who felt that they had been misled, who were very, very angry about the financial circumstances of the business. There were bankers who were upset the business hadn’t met the projections that had been put out in front of it. And it was a very complicated set of circumstances.

    And the sharks from Goldman Sachs swimming in the water around.

    Well they got dismissed pretty quickly on. The partner from Goldman Sachs who was in charge of the assignment got into a bit of a debate with Mitt one Saturday afternoon, and he was, they were dismissed from the case after that.

    What happened?

    He -- we’re on TV. He told Mitt to go do something to himself, and I thought Mitt was going to slug him, and he, at the end of the day he didn't slug him. The guy was inappropriate, and it turned out he was wrong. He was making some assertions, and Mitt was trying to make the counterpoint, and he was talking over Mitt. And anyway, it wound up Goldman Sachs got fired, Mitt and a couple of us helped Mitt in the first couple of weeks, but then as it went on Mitt was able to get everybody stabilized. And Bob White actually worked very closely with Mitt throughout that process as sort of his chief of staff and did a terrific job supporting him through that turnaround.

  12. Ψ Share

    Tom Stemberg   Founder of Staples, Inc.

    (Text only) Tom Stemberg founded Staples and served as CEO for 16 years. Under Mitt Romney, Bain Capital helped finance the first Staples, which opened in Brighton, Mass. in 1986. Staples was one of Bain’s earliest investments. This is an edited transcript of an interview conducted on June 15, 2012.

    Read the full interview »

    ... You've talked about Romney as a businessman, at least in relation to you. Why was he so wildly successful?

    There's never one reason why someone is successful in business or in life. There's always a whole bunch of combination of things. Being smart certainly helps, and Mitt is very, very smart.

    Realizing that you have to build a team is a significant attribute that a lot of people of significant stature don't appreciate. Mitt always built great teams around him, no matter what he was taking on. And even today, as he runs the campaign, he's learned from his previous mistakes, and he's put together a far more effective team. That's Mitt. That's why I believe Mitt will be a terrific president.

    And he's got that ability, thirdly, to motivate people. And he does it in a, I wouldn't say a charismatic way, in a very practical way, of taking an idea, kind of like Ronald Reagan did, and making it simple enough for people to understand.

    And when it comes to things like entitlements, which are things we really have to tackle as a country, Mitt knows this gets a gut negative reaction from people. He will be able to explain how in a relatively nonthreatening way we can begin to balance our budget for our children's sake.

  13. Ψ Share
    Related topics:
    Bain

    Tom Stemberg   Founder of Staples, Inc.

    (Text only) Tom Stemberg founded Staples and served as CEO for 16 years. Under Mitt Romney, Bain Capital helped finance the first Staples, which opened in Brighton, Mass. in 1986. Staples was one of Bain’s earliest investments. This is an edited transcript of an interview conducted on June 15, 2012.

    Read the full interview »

    In that very first meeting, ... what was he like? What did he look like? How did he present himself? What was the feeling of it all?

    When you first walked in and saw Mitt, he looked like a guy who ought to be president of the United States. This guy, he looked perfect; he dressed perfect; he spoke perfectly. He asked the most poignant questions in a very, very nice way and didn't make you feel defensive and really drew the best or worst out of you. He was just really, really good.

    ... When he's skeptical, what's he like? Did you feel like, "Man, there's a lot of horsepower behind this engine"?

    After we started working together and Mitt was on our board, he had a very interesting way of probing you, and he would always ask these questions like: "You don't really mean that, do you? Do you really believe this market's going to grow at that? Should we really invest in this?"

    And you never knew, was he just probing you, or did he really question it, so you had to react as if he's really questioning it. All he's doing is always probing, wants to make sure you've done your homework, done your assumptions. I think it's the way he governed as governor. It's the way he'll be as president.

    Was he ever argumentative, angry, profane? You know what I mean. Was he one of those hotshots?

    I never heard Mitt utter a swear word. I've seen him get annoyed when he felt his questions weren't being answered. You could sense a certain annoyance. Never anger, though.

  14. Ψ Share
    Related topics:
    Olympics

    Fraser Bullock   Former COO, Salt Lake Olympics

    (Text only) A former Bain Capital partner, he was living in Utah when Mitt Romney took the helm of the scandal-plagued Olympics. Romney convinced Bullock to join him as COO and together they saw the games out of a $400 million hole. This is an edited transcript of an interview conducted on July 19, 2012.

    Read the full interview »

    Talk to me about his leadership style, not only at the corporate level but sort of on the ground, and what he brought from his business background, his Bain experience, to that.

    Mitt brought several things to the Olympic Games in terms of leadership skills. One of the first ones was to be able to put together a strategy -- look at the situation; analyze it; where do we have strengths, where do have weaknesses; how do we put those together in a clear, concise strategy of what we're going to do -- and then communicate that to everybody -- to the community, to our sponsors, to the Olympic family, to our employees -- and then put together a plan to execute that vision. And then his other capability adding to that is bringing together a great team of people. ...

    Second, he has the capability of reaching out to different constituent groups around the world. With the Olympics we had people from 83 countries. We had sponsors, we had various people from the Olympic family, we had security agencies, and Mitt had to build relationships with all of those different groups and to be able to address their concerns in a way that made sense for us and for them. So his ability to build bridges, to be able to work with people, was extraordinary.

    And then third, he has deep analytical capability. He loves numbers. One of my roles was chief financial officer, and I would walk in with all kinds of numbers and spreadsheets, and he would be able to take all of that pile of things and look through it very quickly and say: "Here are the three numbers that matter. Let's talk about these; let's focus on these." And he was always right. ...

  15. Ψ Share

    Fraser Bullock   Former COO, Salt Lake Olympics

    (Text only) A former Bain Capital partner, he was living in Utah when Mitt Romney took the helm of the scandal-plagued Olympics. Romney convinced Bullock to join him as COO and together they saw the games out of a $400 million hole. This is an edited transcript of an interview conducted on July 19, 2012.

    Read the full interview »

    And do you think that his mission, his skills he learned in France sort of contributed to that perseverance and willingness to go forward?

    Mitt's experience perhaps as a missionary and then throughout his career of knocking on doors and approaching people and asking for things, even at Bain & Company, and approaching corporations and selling them on "Here are the benefits of affiliating with this," he had had a lot of experience in that. And there were tremendous benefits to affiliating with the Olympics, and Mitt used all of that accumulated experience from his life, put it together and did an amazingly effective job at the Olympics.

    He also got tremendous support from some of the families here in the local community. So talk to me about that and how he was able to get the kind of support he did and why.

    So I remember we had this occasion at the Huntsman Cancer Institute where we had this nice dinner and wealthy people were invited to come, and they knew why they were coming is to be asked to donate to the Games to make them work. They knew that our community was in trouble. And so we had everybody there, some Olympians, and Mitt started off by saying, "OK, I will be the first one, and I'll donate $1 million of my own money to the Olympics." And when he did that by leadership, by example once again, everybody started following. And many people in the community stepped forward, and I think we raised about $35 million from donations to the Games, which once again was a record in the Olympic movement.

  16. Ψ Share

    Eric Fehrnstrom   Romney political adviser

    Eric Fehrnstrom has worked for Romney for a decade, first as his press secretary in Romney’s 2002 run for governor of Massachusetts. Prior to his work in politics, Fehrnstrom worked in public relations and as a reporter for the Boston Herald. This is an edited transcript of an interview conducted by producer Gabrielle Tenenbaum on Aug. 21, 2012.

    ... You've been a close adviser for 10 years. Just in terms of understanding, again in terms of his leadership, in terms of how he takes counsel, especially on the campaign trail, which can be grueling, how does that dynamic work between the two of you? And how has it worked in this campaign in terms of, you advise, does he accept? I mean, how do those conversations work?

    Well, look, politically, I think the governor feels that the most important thing he can do is fulfill the campaign promises he's made. He also looks to assemble a group of people who are the smartest, brightest, most capable folks, and he asks them to bring forward initiatives from their areas of responsibility.

    In terms of the governor's style of governance, he welcomes vigorous internal debate. All points of view are encouraged. But when a decision is made, and he may sleep on a decision for a night or two, but after he makes a decision, he expects his entire team to speak with a single voice and unify around that decision.

    He likes data. He prefers PowerPoint. I think that is a remnant from his days in business. If someone's going to write a memo, it should be one page, single-spaced. And sometimes he plays the devil's advocate. People might interpret that as the governor being argumentative, but he's actually just trying to test the strength of your argument. And if no one else will speak out against it, then he feels an obligation to play the devil's advocate.

    But he is someone who is interested in all points of view, and he goes where the data leads him. He has political beliefs and convictions, but he's also someone who is susceptible to a good argument that's backed up with data.

    And tireless, I hear.

    Yeah, he is tireless. You know, he lives clean. He's in good shape. He eats right. And I think that gives him a stamina that is remarkable to behold. ...

403 Forbidden

Forbidden

You don't have permission to access /wgbh/pages/frontline/includes/sidebar_wide_bottom_wp.inc on this server.

FRONTLINE   Watch FRONTLINE   About FRONTLINE   Contact FRONTLINE
Privacy Policy   Journalistic Guidelines   PBS Privacy Policy   PBS Terms of Use   Corporate Sponsorship
FRONTLINE is a registered trademark of WGBH Educational Foundation.
Web Site Copyright ©1995-2012 WGBH Educational Foundation
PBS is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization.