It’s that time of the year. And by that time we mean the beginning. But also the time of year when the lack of business news means the business media turns to lists to generate stories. The top 7 business stories of 2007. Best 8 investment ideas of 2008. The worst 20 things on Wall Street.
We’re hardly above this type of artificial story generation. Indeed, we’re busy as, well, bees at the height of honey season (whenever that is) putting together our list of top stories from the last year. (Send your nominations to firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line: “Top Stories.”) We’re also going to put together a couple other special features to make up for the lack of stories other than “oil is, like, totally close to $100 a barrel.”
But in the meantime, we’re keeping our eyes on everyone else’s lists and other “of the year” features. Let’s start with Business Week’s “Business Person of the Year.”
After the jump, we reveal BW’s winner and why we think Jamie Dimon was totally robbed.
The envelope please. And the winner is…cue drumroll (for readers who haven’t yet looked at Business Week, and, really, who among you has)…Mark Hurd, the chief executive of Hewlett-Packard. Hurd wins for being a “low-key executive” who “doesn’t chase the limelight,” a “no-nonsense operator” who is helping turn around H-P’s “struggling business.” Oh, and he’s got “laser focus” just like a laser printer. In other words, he wins for being totally boring but still making money. And probably for not spying on H-P board members and journalists.
Okay. We’ll give it up to Hurd for crushing Dell, and refocusing H-P on what it does best—concentrating on PCs and printers. The company shed its digital camera operations, and a few of its acquisitions—web printer Tabblo comes to mind—were in line with its focus. But VoodooPC? Is H-P really going to conquer the “gaming market?” Do serious gamers even use PCs anymore? Wii have no idea but it strikes us as unlikely.
Jamie Dimon was named as a runner up but he might want to demand a recount. Where many banks have stumbled in the credit markets, JP Morgan Chase has merely slowed. The company wrote down only $1.3 billion of its leverage-loan portfolio in the third quarter, which is chump change in the modern world of double digit write-downs. And his investment banking business is exploding. What’s more, he’s a lot less boring. They say Dimon has a “payback” list in his breast pocket—some say the list is of people who owe him favors, some say its more of an enemies list. If it’s the latter, he might consider adding the BW editors to it for this slight.
BW's Businessperson of the Year [Business Week]