Bill Ackman Does Not Act, Bill Ackman Feels Deeply (And Does Not Appreciate The Insinuation Otherwise, THANK YOU VERY MUCH)

As we have discussed at length, when it comes to the art of regulating one's emotions while investing, there are two models to choose from: The Dead Inside paradigm, wherein you remain calm, cool, and collected, maintaining the same expression on your face whether you've lost $1 billion on one trade or made three times that much on another; and The Bill Ackman. The mega-successful Pershing Square founder imbues emotion in everything he does, particularly when it comes to his job. As a man who wears his heart on his sleeve, in the past Ackman has been known to: cry at shareholder meetings; get extremely heated to the point of his face becoming "flushed," his eyes "misty" when meeting with SEC investigators; pen "long, emotional, late-night missives" to top SEC brass; and erupt on directors of companies with such passion that his "furious outburst" could be "heard in an outside hallway." As there are few on Wall Street who exhibit such raw emotion while conducting business, and there is a propensity by some to employ tactics that will put them in the power position when facing foes, perhaps it should not come as too much of a shock that recently, a reporter asked Ackman whether or not the waterworks or displays of indignation are pre-planned, in front of a mirror. For those who've long known Ackman has more integrity in one salty tear than most have in their entire body, his answer will not come as a shock, but to set the record straight, for anyone holding out hope of seeing him do a little regional theater at some point in the future:
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As we have discussed at length, when it comes to the art of regulating one's emotions while investing, there are two models to choose from: The Dead Inside paradigm, wherein you remain calm, cool, and collected, maintaining the same expression on your face whether you've lost $1 billion on one trade or made three times that much on another; and The Bill Ackman. The mega-successful Pershing Square founder imbues emotion in everything he does, particularly when it comes to his job. As a man who wears his heart on his sleeve, in the past Ackman has been known to: cry at shareholder meetings; get extremely heated to the point of his face becoming "flushed," his eyes "misty" when meeting with SEC investigators; pen "long, emotional, late-night missives" to top SEC brass; and erupt on directors of companies with such passion that his "furious outburst" could be "heard in an outside hallway."

As there are few on Wall Street who exhibit such raw emotion while conducting business, and there is a propensity by some to employ tactics that will put them in the power position when facing foes, perhaps it should not come as too much of a shock that recently, a reporter asked Ackman whether or not the waterworks or displays of indignation are pre-planned, in front of a mirror. For those who've long known Ackman has more integrity in one salty tear than most have in their entire body, his answer will not come as a shock, but to set the record straight, for anyone holding out hope of seeing him do a little regional theater at some point in the future:

Ackman’s most vitriolic outburst occurred after his proxy vote triumph at CP’s annual meeting in Calgary this past May. Minutes after his overwhelming victory—which saw Cleghorn, Green and four other directors resign—Ackman walked into a meeting room at the Sheraton Hotel. Waiting at the table were his chosen directors, plus most of the board’s remaining old guard, including retired Suncor chief Rick George, U.S. rail veteran Tony Ingram, and Madeleine Paquin, head of Montreal cargo operator Logistec Corp. Ackman was proposing that two members of his slate—former head of the Alberta Treasury Branches Paul Haggis and U.S. railway veteran Stephen Tobias—be named chairman and interim CEO, respectively. Instead of bowed heads and a trembling white flag, Ackman faced a counteroffensive. Staring down the activist, the directors proposed installing Ingram as chairman, and chief financial officer Kathryn McQuade as interim CEO. Ackman’s furious outburst could be heard in an outside hallway, where a clutch of advisers was standing by. According to people familiar with the session, Ackman challenged Ingram’s credentials, accusing the directors of attempting to thwart his long-term plan to name Harrison CEO. “I think you missed what just took place at the shareholders’ meeting,” Ackman yelled. “We will go right back outside and we will run another proxy contest to replace the balance of the directors.” After a recess, the startled stalwarts agreed to a compromise: Tobias was named interim CEO and Paquin, acting chair. Within months, George and Ingram had resigned from the board, Harrison was anointed CEO, and Haggis became chairman.

Half a year later, Ackman is asked to explain his Calgary outburst. “Ballistic is too strong a word,” he says. He searches long and hard for diplomatic words to explain his passionate reaction in the CP boardroom. “There were a lot of bruised feelings,” he says. “It took a while before we were able to work it out. The first few hours were not easy.” When it is suggested that his anger may be a deliberate act to unnerve his adversaries, he is incensed. “I don’t act, ever,” he says. “I’m exactly who I appear to be. I am unfiltered, for better or worse.”

ROB Magazine’s CEO of the Year: Bill Ackman [Globe And Mail]

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Give A Bill Ackman A Fish And You'll Feed Him For A Day. Teach A Bill Ackman To Fish And He'll Hire You To Work At Pershing Square. (Ditto Re: Tennis Lessons.)

How do the world's leading hedge fund managers go about assembling their teams? While some choose the standard head hunter and "pitch me a stock" route with candidates who've had at least a few years of business experience and proven track records, others prefer a more outside the box approach. Bridgewater Associates, for instance, has said that instead of going after veterans of Wall Street, it prefers to hire people straight out of college, when their minds are still malleable. Founder Ray Dalio has stated: "Interest in the subject matter is a minor consideration...We are first interested in people's values, second interested in their abilities, and least interested in their precise skills. We want independent thinkers who are willing to put aside their egos to find out what is true." Similarly, Pershing Square's Bill Ackman, who has never been one to follow the crowd, eschews the typical hiring process in identifying talent. Instead, Ackman relies on gut instincts when it comes to making personnel calls, many of which occur outside the confines of the investing world. For example, a former analyst named Oliver White was hired after serving as Ackman's guide on a fishing expedition in Tierra del Fuego. (Per Christine Harpers's Confidence Game: "For six days, Ackman and White, a philosophy graduate from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, talked and fished. White explained technical details to Ackman about fly selection, casting the line, and luring the fish. Meanwhile, Ackman spotted the next member of Pershing Square's investment team. "At the end of his stay, he asked me-- no, he told me-- I should come to New York and work for him.") While Ackman was obviously impressed with White's talent, it seems the offer was made on the basis of spending six days peering into the guy's soul and seeing something special he knew in his plums would carry over into the investing world, rather than as a barter deal for more fishing lessons. In other cases, people have been asked to join the Pershing team after dazzling Ackman with a skill he wanted to acquire. Days after Bill Ackman won control of Canadian Pacific Railway Ltd. (CP), the nation’s second-largest railway, he was at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center trying to control his backhand against Wall Street’s biggest hitters. “My groundstrokes were actually pretty good,” the 46- year-old chief of Pershing Square Capital Management said toward the end of play at the R Baby Foundation doubles tournament. The event was a fundraiser to aid emergency pediatric care. “I had too many unforced errors.” [...] On Saturday, his partner was Elena Piliptchak of Tiger Europe Management, who played for Kansas State University and was the lone female competing. Ackman’s partner was 25-year-old Mariusz Adamski, a business major and No. 1 doubles player at Wake Forest University in North Carolina. After they were introduced three years ago by Jeffrey Appel, an investment banker, Ackman hired Adamski at Pershing. Where will Bill find his next super star? Let us be the first to suggest the ranks of street magicians, as they have have all the classic BA lures including the possession of a skill he most likely doesn't have and would like to learn and natural stage presence. Harvard, Princeton Bankers Seek Net Glory In Tennis Match [Bloomberg] Confidence Game [Christine Harper]