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Rupert Murdoch's Dictatorial Executive Suite: a slide show! · 16 February 2008

For the purpose of translation into Russian, the title of this book has been changed to: “Psychology and Power: Lessons for Leaders from the offices of Mao, Napoleon, Hitler, Mussolini, Stalin and Ataturk.”

This presentation might thus be renamed, “Psychology and Power: Lessons for Leaders from the offices of Mao, Napoleon, Hitler, Mussolini, Stalin, Ataturk and Rupert Murdoch.”

SLIDE 1. ................. Dictatorial CEOs & their Lieutenants

Inside the Executive Suites of

Napoleon Bonaparte, Josef Stalin, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, Benito Mussolini, Adolf Hitler, Mao Zedong

And featuring

The Executive Suite of Rupert Murdoch

SLIDE 2. ..................... The Essence of it All !

Albert Speer:

“Every holder of power, whether the director of a company, the head of a state, or the ruler of a dictatorship”

finds that “his favour is so desirable to his subordinates that they will sue for it by every means possible. Servility becomes endemic among his entourage, who compete among themselves in their show of devotion.”

and this “in turn exercises a sway upon the ruler, who becomes corrupted in his turn.”

SLIDE 3. ............................. Corrupted !

Speer continued:

“The key to the quality of the man in power is how he reacts to this situation.”

I say:

If the “man in power” has the right qualities and reacts in the right way, he (or she) can become a “Sun King”

SLIDE 4. ............................... Murdoch

Andrew Neil:

“When you work for Rupert Murdoch you do not work for a company chairman or chief executive … You are not a director, or a manager ….. You are a courtier at the Court of the Sun King – rewarded by money and status by a grateful King, as long as you serve his purpose, dismissed outright or demoted to a remote corner of the empire when you have ceased to please him or outlived your usefulness.”

SLIDE 5. ........................... It is a Circle!

Neil:

Courtiers must always remember two things vital to survival:

Never dare to outshine the Sun King; and always show regular obeisance to him to prove that, no matter how powerful or important they are, they know who is boss.”

SLIDE 6. ......................... Right ‘qualities’

Emil Ludwig:

“It is undoubtedly true that the men Mussolini set out to overthrow were weaker than he. That is no proof of the rightness of his idea, but only the strength of his personality.”

Neil:

Such is the force of Murdoch’s personality that you feel obliged to take such views carefully into account.”

SLIDE 7. ....................... Power personality 1

Ludwig:

Mussolini’s “self-confidence” represents “half his success”.

Neil:

Murdoch “believes, with good reason, his instincts are infallible when it comes to print.”

SLIDE 8. .......................... Power personality 2

General Caulaincourt:

Napoleon “always applied all his means, all his faculties, all his attention to the action or discussion of the moment. He put passion into everything. Hence the enormous advantage he had over his adversaries; for few people are absolutely engrossed by the moment’s thought or action.”

John D’Arcy:

“Murdoch was the best entrepreneur, the best corporate gambler ever, and he succeeded because he has stuck to his one interest – media.”

SLIDE 9. ....................... Power personality 3

Stalin:

“What do you think I am, an old Georgian granny to believe in gods and devils? I believe in one thing only, the power of the human will.”

Ataturk:

“Victory is won by the man who says ‘Victory is mine’, success belongs to him who starts by saying ‘I will be successful’”.

Napoleon:

“The throne is a man, and that man is me, with my will, my character, and my renown!”

SLIDE 10. ...................... Right ‘lieutenants’ 1

Dr Li:

“Mao basked in the flattery even when he suspected that it was not sincere.”

Neil:

“All Sun Kings have a weakness for courtiers who are fawning or obsequious. But the wisest – among whom we must number our Sun King – know they also need courtiers
with brains, originality etc. But independence has its limits.

SLIDE 11. .......................... Right ‘lieutenants’ 2

Sergo Beria:

Stalin “had not raised many intelligent people to the rank of his closest associates because he feared that such would hinder his actions. But neither could he allow himself to choose only imbeciles if he wanted results.”

Neil:

Those who survive longest … are a group of unthreatening Australians who … are unemployable elsewhere at anything like the salaries and status …”

D’Arcy:

“While most of his senior people in Australia were fairly basic, … employ the best legal brains and … financial brains outside the company.”

SLIDE 12. ....................... Right ‘lieutenants’ 3

Dr Li:

“Mao demanded Zhou Enlai’s absolute loyalty, and had he not received it, Zhou would no doubt have been overthrown.”

Neil:

Murdoch “picks editors like me who are generally on the same wave length as him: we started from a common set of assumptions about politics and society, even if we did not see eye to eye on every issue … Then he largely let me get on with it.”

“During the eleven years I was editor, Rupert fired or eased out every chief executive of real talent or independent mind-set.”

SLIDE 13. ...................... Right ‘lieutenants’ 4

Sergo Beria:

“Above a certain level Stalin appointed only individuals he knew personally and never ceased studying them. He had one unchanging rule: one can never be too suspicious.”

Fain:

Napoleon “had a horror of change, feared new faces … conserving men who were formed under his shadow”.

D’Arcy:

“People never advanced in News Limited until loyalty … was proven.” The comment was always: ‘We are not sure of him yet’ or ‘The jury is still out’. It was almost as though, for anyone to succeed in News they had to serve an apprenticeship under the culture that was unique to that organization.”

SLIDE 14. ............................... Daily work 1

Neil:

“Sun Kings are also control freaks – and they are used to getting their way.”

Mussolini called his lieutenants “electric light-bulbs which I turn on or off as I wish”.

Napoleon:

“In this world there are only two alternatives: command or obey.”

SLIDE 15. .............................. Daily work 2

Neil:

There is a Jekyll and Hyde quality to Murdoch: despite the bad-tempered calls, there are many times when he was courteous, even charming.”

“He rules over great distances through authority, loyalty, example and fear.”

SLIDE 16. ..................... Daily work 3 – Jekyll & Hyde

Stalin:

“Do you really believe a man could maintain his position of power for fourteen years merely by intimidation? Only by making people afraid?”

Khrushchev:

“He didn’t simply come with a sword and conquer our minds and bodies. No, he demonstrated his superior skill in subordinating and manipulating people.”

SLIDE 17. ...................... Daily work 4 – Jekyll & Hyde

Speer:

“To the imagination of the outsider Hitler was a keen, quick, brutally governing dictator. It is difficult to believe that in reality he edged along hesitantly, almost fearfully.”

Speer :

“He knew men’s secret vices and desires, he knew what they thought to be their virtues,
he knew the hidden ambitions and motives which lay behind their loves and hates, he knew where they could be flattered, where they were gullible, where they were strong and where they were weak; he knew all this by instinct and feeling, an intuition which in such matters never led him astray.”

SLIDE 18. ..................... Daily work 5 – Jekyll & Hyde

Denis Decres:

Napoleon “enslaved us all”—“He held our imagination in his hand, sometimes a hand of steel, sometimes a hand of velvet; one never knew how it was going to be from day to day, so that there was no means of escaping.”

Neil:

“Murdoch can be benign or ruthless … You never know which: the element of surprise is part of the means by which he makes his presence felt in every corner of his domain. He may intervene in matters great or small: you never know when or where, which is what keeps you on your toes.”

‘I wonder how the King is today?’ is the first question all of Murdoch’s lieutenants ask themselves when they wake in the morning.

SLIDE 19. ......................... Daily work 6 – Hyde

Neil:

“… all of a sudden, he descends like a thunderbolt from Hell to slash and burn …

Since nobody is sure when the next autocratic intervention will take place … , they live in fear of it and try to second- guess what he would want, even in the most unimportant of matters.

It is a clever way of keeping his executives off balance: they live in a perpetual state of insecurity.”

“… did not expect to see his particular views immediately reflected in the next edition … But he had a quite, remorseless, sometimes threatening way of laying down the parameters within which you were expected to operate.”

SLIDE 20. ........................ Daily work 7 – Hyde

Tallyrand:

Napoleon “thought that those who belonged to him must cease to belong to themselves”.

Neil:

“He had an all-or-nothing attitude towards those who worked with him, the better to control them.”

SLIDE 21. ......................... Daily work 8 – Jekyll

Sergo Beria:

Stalin “left each person he spoke to anxious to see him again, with a sense that there was now a bond that linked them forever”.

Goebbels’ 39th birthday in 1936:

“We go into my room alone. And then he speaks to me very kindly and intimately. About old times, and how we belong together, how fond he is of me personally. He pours out his heart to me. The problems he has, how he trusts me, what great assignments he still has in store for me.”

D’Arcy:

“To influence senior journalists Murdoch would invite them to join him on a trip the News private jet. He really won those people’s minds.”

Neil:

Murdoch has “a habit of allowing new recruits to overrule his own wishes, for a while: it makes them think they will have real power.”

SLIDE 22. ......................... Daily work 9 – Jekyll

Hitler & Speer:

“If any steps are taken against you, or if you have difficulties … then I’ll tell those gentlemen whatever is necessary.” Behave toward him like gentlemen!’ he said, employing the English word.

“Heretofore Hitler had never introduced a minister in this way. … I found
myself moving in a kind of vacuum that offered no resistance whatever.”

Murdoch & Neil:

“‘Leave it to me’, he said, ‘I’ll see the chapel committee.’ He listened attentively to their complaints. He charmed them – but finished up with a friendly but clear warning:

‘If you pass a motion of no confidence in Andrew’, he said, softly but carefully, ‘then you … take on me. I am behind Andrew one hundred per cent.’ I had been able to count on him in a tight spot.”

SLIDE 23. ......................... Daily work 10 – Hyde

Dr Li:

“‘Is there any news?’ was to become Mao’s daily greeting.”

Gus Fischer:

“I think Rupert is happiest when he has someone in London who will call him on everything, even if he is just going to the bathroom.”

SLIDE 24. ........................ Daily work 11 – Hyde

Bourreinne:

“When (Napoleon) was going to reprimand any one he liked to have a witness present. The presence of a third person seemed to give him confidence.”

Neil:

He “does not like confrontations unless he provokes them, which he rarely does.” He “has little stomach for sacking senior executives; it is a task which he prefers to delegate.”

SLIDE 25. .......................... Daily work 12 – Hyde

Speer:

“As usual he made disparaging remarks about almost all of his associates except those of us who were present.”

Dr. Li:

“Mao … met alone with local leaders. He did not want the central authority to know what he said to the provincial and local-level leaders.”

Gus Fischer:

“He won’t even agree he should report to me. He prefers the tension between executives”

D’Arcy:

“Murdoch asked me to be Chairman. I asked him why … Rupert said that he wouldn’t have Searby because he was a Melbourne man and might take too big an interest in the company!”

SLIDE 26. ......................... Daily work 13 – Hyde

Admiral Kuznetsov:

“Stalin had ideas on how to wage war, but with his usual psychological distrust, kept them secret from those who had to execute them.”

D’Arcy:

“He trusts hardly anyone.”

SLIDE 27. .......................... Daily work 14 – Hyde

Mussolini:

“The extent of credulity which can be found in any man of whatever
class or intelligence in quite extraordinary; lies always win against the truth”

Murdoch to Neil:

“You’re far too blunt with these people. You have to be more devious. Just be a bit more two-faced, be a bit more nice to them and then you can do what you want later on.”

SLIDE 28. ........................... Daily work 15 – Jekyll

Stalin to General Vasilevsky:

“You command so many armies, yet you wouldn’t hurt a fly.”

“Ask for their forgiveness.”

“It’ll be a long time before you pay off your debt to me.”

Neil:

“When I arrived Rupert saw how shaken I was and poured me several large Scotches. We talked long into the night. Rupert was talking me down from the shock of a nasty situation: it was a generous gesture, especially since it kept him up most of the night.”

SLIDE 29. ....................... Daily work 16 – Hyde

Bottai, one of several sacked in 1943:

“What has Mussolini being trying to do. To distract people from the great interrogation marks of the hour. And then, to show his power over men.”

Hitler’s army adjutant:

“Some of Hitler’s decisions had nothing to do with military reasoning. They were only made to demonstrate to the head of the Army that Hitler was in command …”

Neil:

“Rupert thought Bruce Mathews was getting too big for his boots and resented his independence. .. began to insist on approving even minor matters …”

With his rejection of our latest plans, he was also sending me a signal that I had only a leasehold on the paper … and he would determine any further developments if he chose to.”

SLIDE 30. ........................ Daily work 17 – Hyde

1940 Bottai wrote:

“Mussolini is always right” now meant “if things go well, to take the credit; and, if things go badly, to blame others”.

Sergo Beria:

When Stalin “launched a new campaign or negotiated a new turn in policy, he was careful to put other people out in front, so that he reserved complete freedom to manoeuvre. They served as scapegoats if things should go wrong.”

Neil:

“I told … David Corvo … that I had learnt that … Rupert … he was now saying to his cronies that it was my ‘dereliction’ that had killed the weekly (news) show. I had ‘lost interest in it and slackened off’. Corvo shook his head in disbelief.”

SLIDE 31. ............................ Daily work 18 – Hyde

Stalin:

“Where’s your Serdich?”

“Executed!” came the reply.

“Pity! I wanted to make him Ambassador to Yugoslavia.”

D’Arcy:

“Murdoch doesn’t care about any people except his own family.”

Neil:

Richard Searby, one of Murdoch’s “longest serving lieutenants”, was eventually sacked by fax despite an association which went back to their school days”.

SLIDE 32. ........................ Daily work 19 – Hyde

Stalin:

General Koniev received several favourable mentions in newspapers during the first week of the German invasion. Stalin rang the editor and said: “You’ve printed enough on Koniev.”

Neil was told in 1994:

“Do not underestimate how much Rupert resents you becoming a public figure in your own right. He hates the fact that you are better known, more regularly recognised than he is in Britain. He resents the way people talk about “your” Sunday Times. He does not like being upstaged. There is room for only one superstar at News International.”

SLIDE 33. ........................ Daily work 20 – Jekyll

Stalin:

“A (military) parade will be held … I’ll see to it personally. If there’s an air raid … and there are dead and wounded, they must be quickly removed and the parade allowed to go on. A newsreel should be made and distributed throughout the country. I’ll make a speech. … What do you think?”

Molotov: “But what about the risk? Though I admit the political response … would be enormous.”

Neil on 1985:

“He could see we were miserable. ‘Look’, he said firmly but quietly, ‘I know this is terrible but we’re going to do something about it. I’ve made up my mind. The key is Wapping; if the unions won’t go there on our terms then we’ll go without them.’

A wave of exhilaration swept through me.”

SLIDE 34. ........................... Daily work 21 – Jekyll

Sergo Beria:

“When Stalin thought it necessary he was able to seduce a Field Marshal just as well as a young man. It was not enough for me to be obedient, I had to be completely with him.”

Below:

“Until the autumn of 1941” it was “rare for Hitler to give a direct order”; “his preferred method was persuasion, so that his generals put his ideas into effect from conviction.”

Neil:

“Charming. This is also when he is most dangerous.”

SLIDE 35. ............................ Daily work 22 – Hyde

Baldur Shirach:

“… from 1933 to 1936, Hitler could not simply have said, ‘I’m getting rid of him.’ Even in a totalitarian movement it is not the case that the boss just says, ‘That man no longer suits me, I’ll send him into the wilderness.’ Each person brings into movements like that the people he has convinced and won over. They are his private source of power.”

Neil:

“Rupert had had enough of me at The Sunday Times but he had yet to decide if he had finished with me altogether. Moving me to America dispensed with an immediate cause of aggravation for him and placed me in alien territory where I had no power base and
could be more easily controlled.”

SLIDE 36. .............................. Time & Tides

Chen Yuan;

“Had Mao died in 1956, his achievements would have been immortal. Had he died in 1966, he would still have been a great man. But he died in 1976. Alas, what can one say?”

Neil on 1994:

“… had become increasingly unpredictable, even whimsical, moving people about for no very good reason (‘spinning wheels’ was how one executive put it), except to satisfy his latest wheeze. He was even doing it to himself. Now over sixty, … but still so much to do … even more of a man in a hurry. He was moving executives around like pieces on a chessboard to suit whatever purpose obsessed him at that particular moment.”

SLIDE 37. ................... Secretary / Gatekeeper 1

Third person in the marriage of Dictatorial CEO & Lieutenants:

Napoleon & Louis Bourreinne

Hitler & Martin Bormann

Stalin & Alexander Poskrebyshev

Mao & Zhang Yufeng

Murdoch & ?????

SLIDE 38. ................... Secretary / Gatekeeper 2

Dr Li:

“After 1974, … Zhang treated even the highest leaders with distain. One day in June 1976, when Hua Guofeng had come to see Mao, Zhang had been napping and the attendants on duty were afraid to rouse her. Two hours later, when Zhang had still not gotten up, Hua, second in command only to Mao, finally left without seeing his superior.”

Murdoch:

???? Guess! The answer is obvious!

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