Earlier today, KKR announced that former Morgan Stanley Chairman and CEO John Mack will be joining the private equity firm as a senior adviser, "supporting new investing activities and providing counsel to KKR portfolio companies." Including the new gig, Mack is now working three jobs, the others being "part-time adviser" to Morgan Stanley and author (as previously noted, he's working on a book). And while it's nice to see him keeping busy, you know what these little diversions don't leave a lot of time for? Manning up and going after his dream.
As you may recall, back in December Mack told a room full of Morgan Stanley employees that if he hadn't become a banker, he would have been a women's shoe salesman and that in the years since he chose one path over another, the former has never come close to replacing the latter when it comes to things that light a fire inside him. Even when he was CEO of Credit Suisse and Morgan Stanley, Mack found time to stop by Bergdorf Goodman and "watch the fierce New York ladies trying on Manolo Blahniks," often advising them on what to purchase, based on which pairs spoke to him and which did not ("Those-- those are the ones. Get them," he would say with undeniably certainty). Which was why, Mack said with a glimmer in his eye, his retirement would include being a "part-time salesman at Berdorf's."
And, yet, here we are, more than three months later, and no such job has been procured. What's more, a spokeswoman for the department store has said that despite possessing an undeniable love and appreciation for shoes and being a born salesman, in order to work the floor, Mack would have to go through the same training program, just like everyone else, and he hasn't even filled out the application to do so.
Why the hold up? It seems pretty obvious that when it comes to the thing that makes him feel alive someone is scared. Not scared to fail-- hell, he knows he can move that product. Don't offend him by suggesting otherwise. But scared the reality won't live up to the dream. Scared that years from now, selling shoes will just be a slog like everything else. So he takes these bull shit little advisory jobs so he can say he "just doesn't have the time" when the topic comes up, knowing full well that he goes to sleep at night and wakes up in the morning thinking about women's shoes and that nothing, and we mean nothing, will ever compare to feeling he'll get running back and forth to the stock room juggling six different styles in 3 different sizes, working his ass off to make that sale. The sooner he realizes that, the better. He obviously made public mention of his little-known passion/plan for reason: so we can hold him accountable. If you see Mack today or next week or the week after, corner and tell him: "The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why. You were born. You and I both know why. The whole world is ready to see what you plan to do about it." Stare him dead in the eye as the words pierce the air like a new pair of Christian Louboutains we just got in. Then turn on your heels and let it all sink in.
John Mack To Join KKR As Senior Adviser [Deal Journal]