Fair and faithful

As my new book heads for bookstore shelves across Canada, I’m happy to report that the subject likes the work. “I think it reads like a good story. You were fair to everybody,” Manulife CEO Dominic D’Alessandro told me by phone after reading the book. “Events were faithfully described.”

As an author, you want to get things right, particularly when writing about business, where misinformation can send stock prices plummeting and poor research can destroy professional reputations.

When I dropped off an early copy of the book last week, D’Alessandro was his usual effervescent self during our twenty-minute conversation. Topics ranged all the way from his favorite bete noire, fair value accounting, to his plans for the summer. He’d hoped to spend some time in his native Italy but that now looks like it won’t happen. The new condo he and his wife are buying will soon be available and they will be focused on getting it ready for move-in.

The rest of his personal planning has not changed: He has no intention of running anything else but he will become a director of three companies. Announcements of the company names await his departure from Manulife where he has been CEO for fifteen years.

“I’ve worked all my life,” said D’Alessandro, who is 62. “I’m looking forward to not working.” The last few months, with falling share price and the controversy around his compensation, have been no fun. He’ll take some time off, maybe even improve his golf game. “It’s going to be so good,” he said, then quickly added, “That’s a joke,” an indication he’s not quite ready to totally quit the world of work just yet.

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