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Don't call kilts chicken.

WHEN GILLETTE'S JIM KILTS cited "personal reasons" for rebuffing Coke's advances, The Wall Street Journal pounced, suggesting that Kilts was fibbing and that he was really just intimidated by the long road ahead at Coke.

What? At Gillette, Kilts took over when the company was floundering and he was the first outsider to run it since 1931. Not exactly a cakewalk. Before that, he revived a struggling Nabisco and engineered a solid turnaround. This is the kind of guy who's afraid of "the tough task of getting rid of weak managers, bringing in new talent and somehow finding a way to refresh the brand"?

For months, the general business media have picked over the bones of CEOs who have been overly motivated by ambition and greed; now they are chewing them out for not being ambitious enough. Shouldn't the media be applauding a CEO willing to honor the contract he or she has with a company by staying put even when a better offer comes along? Shouldn't it be handing out kudos to CEOs who serve as role models by putting their family's needs before their own career ambitions"

Maybe--but we won't hold our breath. The general business media like their CEOs ruthless, greedy and deceitful--or cowardly. One-dimensional, if you please.

A stand-up guy like Kilts just doesn't fit in.
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Title Annotation:Editorial
Publication:Chief Executive (U.S.)
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jun 1, 2004
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