Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Why Is Leo Hindery Seen So Frequently On Business Cable News Channels?

What is it about former TCI and ATT executive Leo Hindrey that merits his being seen so frequently on CNBC and Bloomberg? As I wrote in this post yesterday, be critical and sceptical of the pundits you see on those networks.

To my knowledge, the guy's biggest break was being one of John Malone's lieutenants at TCI when the latter sold it to Mike Armstrong's ATT. Hindery made a bundle on the deal, briefly became an ATT senior executive, then moved on to help destroy value by running a unit of Global Crossing.

Aside from Malone, a PhD and former Bell Labs techie, the bulk of the managerial so-called talent in those days dragged their knuckles when they walked. I know a bit about this because my mentor at Chase Manhattan, Gerry Weiss, made a lot of money personally from his cable investments. He was an early enthusiast, thanks to work he did at GE as chief planner there. He was an early advocate of the Kagan cable newsletter and, from that, learned to stay invested with Malone. Besides him, Gerry was dismissive of most of the industry, as was Kagan.

In case I'd missed something about Hindery, such as a PhD in finance or economics, or a Nobel prize in something, I searched for his bio. The best I could do was  this bio on Wiki. It confirms that Hindery went to Stanford and that, otherwise, he was lucky to be in Malone's organization at the right time.

Yesterday morning, Hindery was on Bloomberg pontificating about how the GOP candidates are weak on job creation policies. How the federal government just has to get involved. Then he derisively snorted at Herman Cain's 9-9-9 plan and judged it too simple.

Doesn't anyone at Bloomberg do any background checking? Hindery is a long time Democratic party backer. So much so that he was considered at one point to head the DNC. He's the guy who caused Tom Daschle his post in this administration's health care cabal by lending Tom a chauffeur and car, which Tom neglected to declare as income to the IRS.

Asking Hindery to handicap GOP presidential contenders is like asking the Koch brothers or Ken Langone to moderate a Democratic candidate debate.

Moreover, what's Hindery actually done since working for Malone and fortuitously cashing in on TCI options from the ATT deal? Nothing I can see. Sure, he's on boards and involved in philanthropy. Heads up his own activist foundation. But basically Leo is a cable guy who hit it big because of his boss' prescience. No track record in consulting, or creating his own business. No history of shrewd corporate strategy work. Nothing like that. Nothing which would cause you to suspect he's a business statesman and savant behind that unassuming visage.

Why he belongs on CNBC and Bloomberg so often to broadcast his personal views is beyond me.

As I noted yesterday and at the beginning of this post, just because someone is on a major cable network program doesn't mean you should accept their comments uncritically.

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