The Power of Media.

By Peter, July 15, 2009 23:00


Of course we all know that if one controls the media he can control the history. It was George Orwell with his book 1984 that taught us that you can control the past if you would be able to replace all the information that you did not like by the information that suits you right. He could not foresee the influence of the mass media in later years.

When a CFO and a CEO leave a media company at the same time, it is no rocket science that all the media want to know what is going on. Of course the fact that both left the company is true and also that they did that short after each other. But that does not mean that is has anything to do with the company, its Supervisory Board or Shareholders.

GetImage.ashxInsiders know that I am talking about Audax. The company I have been working for for 14 years; the latest 9 years as CFO. In 2005 I was elected CFO of the Year (category non-listed) after bringing Audax back under control. I had a great time at Audax and was very much appreciated by both my colleagues and the shareholders / supervisory board. But I was looking for a new challenge and most of my friends knew that. In March of this year a head-hunter called me about the CFO job at Etamgroep in Zoetermeer and the rest is history. Last Thursday I had a great farewell party. See link HERE.

But what about the CEO. He did not want to leave the company. He would like to stay until the end of 2010, but Audax sent him away. A difference of opinion in policy and strategy as the press announcement stated. But is it not a normal thing that the expiration date of a CEO is not much later than 4 or 5 years after his installation? The CEO of Audax was already 9 years on the job and let me tell you that this is just only one fact that led to his dismissal earlier this week, but maybe the most important; the rules for corporate governance do have any meaning! (I am glad I am only appointed for 4 years at Etamgroep).

Telegraaf_logoBut this CEO now wants to control the media. A reporter of De Telegraaf (the biggest newspaper in the Netherlands), who always wrote down the things this CEO wanted him to write (that’s what the CEO told me several times), published two articles to make the unknown outer world believe that this CEO wanted to resign in 2010. He even wrote down that Audax management was in a crisis situation. Of course this was bull shit. Audax was for sure not in any crisis. Maybe if the shareholders would not have sent the CEO home, Audax would have had a crisis.

It is amazing that a few articles with all kind of lies and wrong assumptions can harm a healthy company. It is just a matter who can shout loudest in the media, because the media are – most of the times – believed by the not knowing outsider. Of course the former CEO and Audax are no friends anymore, but that does not give anyone the right to fight his war in the media. Maybe I should send a mirror to the former CEO of Audax so he could have a good look at himself. But will he see what most others see? I doubt! And maybe it is a good thing that everyone has its own reality, but we all know that this is not necessarily the exact reality. Let others judge about that, I have mine too!


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