Post Number: 516
|Posted on Friday, March 23, 2007 - 4:57 pm: || |
http://www.freep.com/apps/pbcs .dll/article?AID=/20070321/BLO G07/70321058/1138/BLOG
BY BILL McGRAW
FREE PRESS COLUMNIST
Comerica Inc. Chairman and CEO Ralph W. Babb Jr. has a busy year ahead of him.
While Babb prepares to move the bank’s headquarters from Detroit to Dallas, he also will continue as chairman of Detroit Renaissance, the elite group of business chieftains devoted to redeveloping Detroit’s economy.
In fact, Babb’s term as Detroit Renaissance chair does not end until November. The bank’s move to the Sun Belt is scheduled to happen before the end of September.
On the surface, that looks like, well…Some day an up-and-coming entrepreneur looking at relocating to Detroit might ask to meet with the chairman of Detroit Renaissance. Staffers will have to tell him, “Sorry, he moved to Dallas.”
Imagine this in the hands of detractors: "How bad is Detroit? Its chief booster lives in Texas."
In other words, couldn’t this become kind of awkward?
As they say in the corporate suite, Babb is talking the talk, but not walking the walk.
Detroit Renaissance was founded in 1970 as the city’s economic crisis was reaching critical mass. Its founders were three of the region’s legendary businessmen, Max Fisher, Henry Ford II and A. Alfred Taubman. The organization is open only to the most important executives of the region’s most important firms and universities. Its credo is: “Accelerate the redevelopment of Detroit” and “transform the economy of southeastern Michigan.”
Comerica announced March 6 that it would move its corporate headquarters and 200 high-level staffers to Dallas. Babb said at the time Comerica already has a major presence in Texas, and added the move would position Comerica in a more central location with greater accessibility to its markets.
He also said “the vibrant and diversified economies of Dallas, Houston and Austin will be particularly helpful to Comerica as we seek to continue attracting and retaining talented employees.”
After Comerica’s announcement, John Crawford, the president and CEO of DowntownDallas, a business and economic development group, told the Dallas Morning News: "It could not have happened at a better time in terms of our continuing efforts to revitalize downtown.”
It sounded like something the chairman of Detroit Renaissance should be saying, about Detroit.
During his State of the City speech last week, Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick said: “This is not a time for the faint-hearted. Even some of our most loyal institutions are faced with, and sometimes yield to, the temptation to bail out on us.”
Anne Masterson, a spokeswoman for Detroit Renaissance, said any change in Babb’s status would have to be discussed by the entire Renaissance board. “My indication is he’ll be staying on,” she said. “It’s an interesting situation,” she acknowledged.
Comerica Spokesman Wayne J. Mielke noted 7,300 Comerica employees will remain in Michigan.
“Ralph Babb expects to continue to fulfill his commitment as chairman of Detroit Renaissance,” Mielke said.
He added: “The announcement of our headquarters relocation does not change that fact. Detroit and Michigan are key markets for Comerica. Comerica remains committed to Detroit and Detroit Renaissance, and will continue to have a significant board presence going forward.”
Post Number: 3889
|Posted on Friday, March 23, 2007 - 5:04 pm: || |
Good article... kind of says it all... AWKWARD
In the case of Mr. Babb, why does the term Hypocrite seem appropriate here?
Post Number: 5293
|Posted on Friday, March 23, 2007 - 5:25 pm: || |
Awkward is an understatement, and a euphemism if you ask me. Let's just say I have a few choice descriptions of him and the situation that I'll keep to myself.
Post Number: 492
|Posted on Friday, March 23, 2007 - 5:32 pm: || |
It has all of the logic of keeping an arsonist in charge of the Fire Department.
Post Number: 9306
|Posted on Friday, March 23, 2007 - 7:10 pm: || |
Good analogy Futurecity. As soon as this was announced he should have stepped aside or at least had the courtesy to let the board know they were moving and he was tendering his resignation.
It just seems the motor cities seem to do everything ass-backwards. No wonder we can't get ahead.
Post Number: 2187
|Posted on Friday, March 23, 2007 - 7:25 pm: || |
Yeah. Because we certainly don't want Comerica involved with Detroit Renaissance.
Hell we have tons of Multi-billion dollar banks just lining up to continue their involvement in pro-bono Detroit work.
F*ck you Comerica. Take all of your civic do-goodednes to Texas.
We do not need quitters like you.
Post Number: 5294
|Posted on Friday, March 23, 2007 - 9:21 pm: || |
Regardless of whether or not their is anger directed at Comerica, the point still stands, whether you want it to or not, that this is an obvious conflict of interest. It doesn't (or shouldn't) take a Comerica detractor to recognize that this is an obvious conflict of interest.
Post Number: 4874
|Posted on Saturday, March 24, 2007 - 12:14 am: || |
Comerica has a funny definition of "commitment".
Post Number: 1646
|Posted on Saturday, March 24, 2007 - 5:53 am: || |
Comerica Foundation shells out millions annually to Detroit for various projects, charities etc. I'd say that's a pretty good "commitment" which they have said will continue.
Those so quick with their knee jerk reactions seem to overlook Comerica's long standing charitable allegiance to this city. You are lucky they didn't take that "committment" to Dallas with them.
Post Number: 361
|Posted on Saturday, March 24, 2007 - 5:56 pm: || |
"Those so quick with their knee jerk reactions seem to overlook Comerica's long standing charitable allegiance to this city. You are lucky they didn't take that "committment" to Dallas with them."
How is the commitment you're speaking of however helping the economy here?
Post Number: 821
|Posted on Sunday, March 25, 2007 - 9:36 am: || |
The guy was mad head of of Detroit Renaissance in part to symbolize the partnership of large local corporations to growth and development in this city.
Since he chose to symbolically diss the city, it would only be appropriate for him to step down and let somebody else take the reigns of this organization.
Besides, He is going to need to spend some time with moving plans and wardrobe updates.
Post Number: 714
|Posted on Sunday, March 25, 2007 - 12:00 pm: || |
Detroit Renaissance needs to update its bylaws to state that members of its board shall be involved with organizations that are committed to staying in Detroit only until they find a better location.