Monday, 30 November 2009

Private equity 'a force for good'. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat.

Back in 2007 I blogged about the way that the phrase "a force for good" was being repeated by a lot of folks in the private equity industry to defend their activites. I had a further trawl last year and found that the phrase was now regularly used by hacks writing about the industry.

Back in 2007 I said:
I don’t think this is an evil corporate plot by the way. I always tend to boring explanations of why things happen, rather than conspiracy theories, hence I doubt very much that the private equity industry and its cheerleaders have decided to use the same slogan. It is possible that a PR firm may have encouraged the BVCA to use it, as a quick skim of Wol Kolade’s interviews reveals that he has used it a lot.

The today I stumbled across this interview about media-coaching for the head of Blackstone Group.
Every era has a picture or an anecdote associated with it. Before, it was K.K.R. and Barbarians at the Gate. Now it’s the party. It has become more or less the anecdote. That increase in profile will never go down, and I don’t see that trend reversing.

But I do see a way forward for them. They have to be the best of the best. Don’t make one speech, make a hundred speeches.

The remarks I read dealt with globalization. He should be a part of that debate in Davos, in Washington, in tons of conferences. I’d tell him, you can be a force for good. Use that as an opportunity.

Hindsight is always 20-20. Shoulda woulda coulda. Again, I think the way forward is to be a force for good and really embrace it.

This sort of thing (I mean corporate PRs telling folks how to spin) doesn't really bother me. What bothers me is the way that people regurgitate it without thinking. Have a Google for "private equity" and "a force for good" and see what I mean.