Testosterone Inc.: Tales of CEOs Gone Wild
Christopher M. Byron
In Testosterone Inc.: Tales of CEOs Gone Wild, bestselling author and New York Post columnist Chris Byron chronicles the Gatsby-like saga of the rise and fall of the celebrity CEO. During the height of the 1990s bull market, they were America's new heroes: The heroes of business. They were our bold new leaders, cutting the fat, pushing for productivity, implementing visionary plans, and making strategic deals.
When the bull market turned to bust and the applause turned to cat-calls, the world was shocked at the truth. Drenched in money and public acclaim, our CEO-heroes—mostly white, mostly male, mostly middle-aged—turned out to be not much different than a group of twenty-something rock stars—drunk on power and driven by sex, greed, and glamor.
Testosterone Inc. goes behind the boardroom doors to show the serial affairs and marriages of these acquisitive corporate titans. At the center of this story is Jack Welch, the biggest of America's rock star CEOs and the former head of General Electric Co., surrounded by "mini-me" CEOs Ron Perelman of Revlon, Al Dunlap of Sunbeam, and Dennis Kozlowski of Tyco—all gone wild in public displays of consumption and predatory appetites writ large.
Byron gets inside the bars where Welch liked to hang out and pick up women with his early "business soul mate" buddies. Byron hovers unseen at the elbow of Ron Perelman and his mistress aboard the Concorde for a week in Paris in his mistaken belief that his wife knows nothing about his secret affair. Byron peeks behind the curtains of a U.S. Army officers’ quarters to behold Al Dunlap horrifying his first wife, who claimed in her divorce action that Dunlap would point his knife at her and say, "I often wondered what human flesh tasted like." Byron becomes a fly on the wall to chronicle the longing for respect and serial womanizing of Dennis Kozlowski.
Frequently hilarious, sometimes heartbreaking, Testosterone Inc. follows the intertwined lives of these four corporate heroes, from childhood to their ultimate moments of glory and the crash-and-burn calamities that followed, as man's age-old hunger for power, greed, and temptation undid them all. From suicide to murder, from dysfunctional childhoods to dysfunctional marriages in adulthood, from business chutzpah to financial suicide, here is the ultimate untold business story of our time: What went on at century's end, when testosterone got the best of businessmen everywhere, and CEOs went wild.
a city with no stately homes—a place as ordinary and dreary N 43 44 TESTOSTERONE INC. as any other early twentieth-century industrial town that time has passed by. In this town, you will find neither hope nor despair, but simply 45,000 residents, dragging themselves back and forth to work each day in a world where the key to tomorrow opens the door to entry-level jobs in massage parlors and diners. In Pittsfield, what energy one does encounter seems to come mainly from people who look to be
gathered and several people stepped to her defense and drove her to the Westfield Police Station. There she told her story, and a policeman escorted her back to the diner in a patrol car. Al was now no longer anywhere to be seen. So Gwyn got out, put Troy in his seat in her car, and headed AL AND DENNIS IN THE PASSING LANE 69 back to her parents, escorted by the police cruiser as far as the Westfield town line. A family priest, Father Flanigan, was asked to provide counseling, and on Al’s
let him play on GE’s weekend softball team. On another occasion, O’Boyle reports that Welch, an avid golfer, was given the cold shoulder by other golfers at the Berkshire Hills Country Club (p. 48). AL AND DENNIS IN THE PASSING LANE 77 exploratory snicker. Then came another . . . and another . . . and after that several at once, until suddenly the entire room was awash in gales of laughter at this perfect moment of deflation for the city’s biggest and most self-possessed jerk.9 Meanwhile, the
Young & Company reported that the anticipated profits Dunlap had been promising were apparently the result of massive falsifications and fraudulent accounting entries on the company’s books. 78 TESTOSTERONE INC. On learning this, Petty realized that he now held the upper hand and announced that Nitec was rescinding its promise to pay Dunlap the payout it had promised. Furious at this turn of events, Dunlap sued for breach of contract, and Nitec countersued. Yet whether or not Al was
than perfunctory announcements of his appointment. In 1982, the number rose modestly to 59 stories, then to 86 stories in 1983, and 93 stories in 1984. But when the RCA deal was announced at year-end 1985, public interest in Welch exploded; the number of stories surged to 152 and continued to rise dramatically thereafter. In the last two years of his tenure as chairman and CEO, the number of stories topped 8,600, and nearly all were 157 158 TESTOSTERONE INC. media, having consigned the