That's the New York Times answer to why Wall Street doesn't care that Time Warner has made a significant turnaround in a company that was written off as dead three years ago. Richard Parsons, one of very few black CEOs in America, is the man responsible, but apparently, convention on Wall Street is that he's just a diversity hire.
Expectations were low when Mr. Parsons was handed the flaming baton in 2002, in part because, as a black man, he had been viewed as a hood ornament of executive diversity. Sure, he was plenty smart, earning the highest score on the New York State Bar exam in 1971. And, yes, he knew politics, having been schooled as an aide to the Rockefellers. He has a significant business résumé. He pulled Dime Savings Bank from the brink in 1990 - and managed to be the last man standing at the merged company.
"I didn't really know Dick all that well," said Mr. Logan, chairman of the company's media and communication group. "I always thought of him as the guy who ran staff functions and I always liked him, but I had no idea how good he was. I got to know him, came to admire him, and he is a fun guy to be around. And when it comes down to it, he always decides to do the right thing, which given where we have been, is saying a lot."
Company party? Credit that to the black guy. Major corporate turnaround? Ignore it. Yeah, I really believe America is a meritocracy.