Letters

Article excerpt

GETTING INTO THE SPIRIT To The Editor:

I read with interest the article entitled, "Through The Needle's Eye: The Spiritual CEO" (CE: January/February 1996).

I live and work each day with Christ as the center of my life, and was pleased to learn that I am not alone. Stewarding a public company is not the simplest task; however, my Christian commitment keeps my work in perspective every day. Unlike a surgeon, a minister, or a teacher, the gifts of an entrepreneurial businessman are much more difficult to recognize, define, and use. After much searching several years ago, I discovered mine as being an allocation of God's limited resources for the benefit of mankind. In my business, it just happens to be land and buildings-and if successful, management gets to keep a little for themselves.

James C. Mastandrea Chairman and Chief Executive First Union Real Estate Investments Cleveland, OH

SHADOW OF A DOUBT To The Editor:

I so much admire Robert W. Lear's pragmatic creativity in his column, "What To Do With Old CEOs?" (CE: April 1996), that I hesitate to rain on his parade. But as T.S. Eliot so tellingly noted, "between the ideas and the reality...falls the shadow."

The shadow in the context of Mr. Lear's recommendation for small boards to avail themselves of ex-CEO counsel seems to be inertia or ignorance of who is accessible. Three years ago, we set up an affiliate comprising 14 retired chairmen and CEOs to do just that. However, despite our efforts to make their availability known, the response has been underwhelming.

But it is the author's other suggestion to which I can respond with more passion: the idea of retired corporate chieftains serving on nonprofit boards. In 1994, I served on six nonprofit boards for 916 hours, or 45 percent of my time. …