News Corp. Adman Who Called His Staff "Bed-Wetting Liberals" Preaches Interpersonal Skills

Last Updated May 20, 2010 1:30 PM EDT

Paul Carlucci, News Corp. (NWS)'s top adman, gave a chutzpah-filled speech at Fordham University recently in which he told students that warm, fuzzy "interpersonal skills" are crucial for management and leadership success. This, remember, is the same Carlucci who just lost his company $530 million -- basically, all its profits from Avatar -- in part because he had lunch with a competitor to tell him, "I will destroy you!"

And it's the same Carlucci (pictured), the publisher of the New York Post and the CEO of supermarket coupon giant News America Marketing, whose client at Sara Lee once wrote: "Feels like they are raping us and they enjoy it."

Let's compare Carlucci's speech with his record. In the speech he said:

In business you'll do much, much better if you have interpersonal skills. ... Leadership is still a process that requires warmth.
In reality, he once told his staff that if they were "bed wetting liberals" concerned about "doing the right thing" he would have them "out-placed." In the speech he said of difficult clients:
Once you build on that relationship ... they will always come to you and tell you everything you need to know about the industry and your competitors, because you'll more than likely be the only one reaching out to them.
In reality, he was taped describing how he underpriced his services to drive his competitors out of business, his client at Del Monte felt as if he were "held hostage" by NAM, and clients who did not take his deals got higher prices.

In the speech he said of loyalty:

Loyalty is a two-way street. If you're there for your employees, you can build leaders in your organization.
In reality, Carlucci once taught his employees a lesson on loyalty by showing them a scene from The Untouchables in which Al Capone beats a disloyal underling to death with a baseball bat.

In the speech, Carlucci told a story about a CEO who berated two heavyset employees with an expletive-ridden rant in a board meeting. He concluded:

"That conduct and that style obviously can't work in today's business world," he said. "It has changed so radically, but that story is truly the essence of my background. It really happened. It happened all the time."
It's a point well made, but perhaps not quite in the way Carlucci sees it.

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