Wednesday, June 1, 2011

John Bryson: Obama's Latest PEU Nomination

President Obama nominated John E. Bryson as Secretary of Commerce.  Bryson is a Senior Advisor for KKR, a private equity underwriter (PEU).  He sits on the board of Boeing, Walt Disney, BrightSource Energy and CODA Automotive.  His 2010 Boeing board pay totaled $265,787, while Disney paid $219,266.  BrightSource and CODA are private companies and don't reveal board pay.

Bryson's stock holdings are significant.  He has 57,889 beneficially held shares of Boeing, which gross $4.4 million. He controls 35,242 Disney shares and has 64,503 in stock options.  Total proceeds from his roughly 100,000 shares is $4.1 million.

Bryson is the former Chairman of the Board, President and CEO of Southern California Edison, which has a list of PEU-like subsidiaries. The firm reported in it's March 2010 proxy statement:

Our CEO John Bryson retired in 2008 with almost $65 million. And our company was ordered to pay fines, etc. of $146 million due to faked customer satisfaction and health and safety survey data
What role did John Bryson , President from October 1990 to July 2008, have in submitting faked data?  To which set of faked data does the filing refer?  Edison's 2007 Annual Report referenced an investigation (on page 26):

Investigations Regarding Performance Incentives Rewards 

SCE was eligible under its CPUC-approved PBR mechanism to earn rewards or penalties based on its performance in comparison to CPUC-approved standards of customer satisfaction, employee injury and illness reporting, and system reliability. SCE conducted investigations into its performance under these PBR mechanisms and has reported to the CPUC certain findings of misconduct and misreporting.
Misreporting or fraud?  Firms don't fork over $148 million lightly.

When Bryson retired at the end of July 2008, Edison gave him a consulting agreement.  Did he need this in addition to his $65 million retirement package?

Edison International and Mr. John E. Bryson have entered into a three-year arrangement commencing upon his retirement pursuant to which he will provide consulting services as requested. Under the arrangement, Mr. Bryson will receive $200,000 per year. Additionally, Mr. Bryson is provided with an office and secretarial support for the three-year period. Edison International also transferred to Mr. Bryson the ownership of a club membership and the company car he used while an employee. 
Bryson didn't slow down.  He began his Senior Advisor position at KKR in August 2008.  Other bonafides for Bryson include governance/membership with (Boeing bio, Walt Disney bio):

Western Asset Income Fund
California Institute of Technology
W.M. Keck Foundation
The California Endowment
President of the California Public Utilities Commission
Chairman of the California State Water Resources Control Board
Public Policy Institute of California
Founder and attorney for the Natural Resources Defense Counci
Chairman of the Pacific Council on International Policy
United Nations Secretary General’s Advisory Group on Energy and Climate Change
Council on Foreign Relations

Obama's Bryson appointment continues his PEU love.  It's an endorsement of PEU's as the primary business model in America and the globe.

Private equity counts on government to fertilize the financial fields for their greed.  They've rewritten the law of the farm, much like the Chinese who recently did anything to grow the size of their watermelon crop.  Will PEU's keep their 30% annual return track record or explode?

Bryson's job will be to keep the field fertile, as only a PEU-government appointee can.  Take a big sniff, the odor is coming.  Did Boeing shareholders already get a whiff?

Four directors had more than 13-years tenure (independence concern). This included John Biggs, 73, chairman of our audit committee, Kenneth Duberstein, our Lead Director and John Bryson, who received our highest negative shareholder votes.
Condider Obama's other PEU appointments, Nancy-Ann DeParle, James Harding, William Kennard, Richard Holbrooke, Tom Daschle, Frances Townsend, Erskine Bowles, and William Reilly.  Bryson fits Obama's PEU fractal.

Political theater has Republicans calling Bryson a "green evangelist."  It seems to be the dark green color of money.