We have known for some time now that Bill Ackman 2.0 is self-designed to be a gentler, quieter, and more contemplative version of the Bill Ackman that we know before it malfunctioned, but every passing week seems to offer us another glimpse at just how neutered the New Ackman has truly become.
Speaking at the 13D Monitor Conference in Manhattan yesterday, Ackman (who we thought was no longer doing this type of thing) vaguely referred to Carl Icahn as "the devil" before saying that he meant it "in the most positive way." He then touted how great Chipotle would become under his handpicked new CEO. From what we're seeing, the whole thing sounds like a warmed-over Ackman performance. It makes us miss the old version.
And what reportedly happened after makes us want to pour some out, for the Bill Ackman we knew is truly dead...
“I’ve actually have wanted to run a proxy contest with an all-female diverse, ethnic slate. I think it sends an incredible message and I think we’d win hands down.” Ackman said in response to a question from a reporter from The Post.
But recruiting diverse candidates — particularly women — for a proxy context has been challenging, Ackman conceded.
“If you’re a diverse candidate whether its gender, ethnic or otherwise and you’re interested in serving in an activist contest, get in touch with us,” Ackman said.
But even Ackman had to admit limits to his desire to truly run a diverse slate, since he — a white male — at times puts himself up as a nominee.
“I wasn’t prepared to do anything about my own gender … there’s certain lengths I’m willing to go to when I’m running a slate,” Ackman said.
It's nice that Ackman 2.0 has included increased wokeness into his regimen of mediation, walking and sequester, but let's cut to the quick: If Bill Ackman isn't willing to undergo gender reassignment just to win a board seat, what the fuck are we even doing here?
The Bill Ackman we knew was a win at all costs beast. He would have done whatever it took to find that edge. If taking down Herbalife had hinged on Bill Ackman becoming Wilhemina Ackman, it's hard to fathom that Bill Ackman's penis would have survived 2014.
So hearing that Bill now has limits to his mania for conquering active investments makes us happy for Bill, but it makes us sad for the world.