Donny Deutsch: chairman of the huge ad agency Deutsch Inc., host of the rarely-viewed show The Big Idea on CNBC, permanently hyper talker. The press has always had a love/ hate relationship with the man. He's a dynamic, quotable guy, which is why he gets an inordinate amount of coverage in the first place. But then again, he's a confirmed insufferable egomaniac. Some people love his style; but we've found that people driven by a burning need to hear others talking about them are almost invariably well qualified for the Douchebag Award. As is Deutsch. Five good reasons why:
- He's an unjustified narcissist. He once ripped off his shirt in front of an Ad Age reporter, and came to regret it, because she didn't find it as charming as he had hoped. That didn't stop his penchant for ripping off his shirt during interviews though—it continues to this day. Google it.
- He wants to run for mayor of New York. Or more accurately, he likes to talk about running for mayor of New York in order to generate buzz for himself. He got a big teasing feature in New York Magazine five years ago touting the idea, and his latest profile—in the most recent issue of his own school's alumni magazine[via Intelligencer]—leads with the same idea. In reality, no matter how many consultants he hires, this self-important (but not really important) man will never be mayor of New York. We'd be astounded if he was even dumb enough to run, although we certainly encourage him to do so for our own amusement.
- He didn't earn it. Deutsch even described himself as "a member of the lucky sperm club," because his father founded his agency and later handed him the reigns. Certainly, Donny deserves credit for growing it to its current massive scale, and lots of people admire him for his hard work. But he hasn't made everyone a friend along the way. Steve Dworin, the former president of his agency, sued him in 2006 for breach of contract, and in his complaint said much of Deutsch's problems stemmed from his "insecurity" over getting his firm "on a silver platter." (Dworin was mad that Deutsch talked bad about him in his book, but later went on to ask Deutsch for a job reference. Bonus demerits: hiring mixed-up backstabbers).
- His overbearing nature makes his show an annoyance to watch. Fellow CNBC-er Jim Cramer has this same trait, but his show is much more successful than Deutsch's. Perhaps it's the unavoidable sense that Deutsch would be better suited to an infomercial than to a talk show. Or editorial decisions like, for example, including Ivanka Trump in a show about young "entrepreneurs."
- He's an ad guy. But not just your average, abashed, I'm-really-a-creative-person ad guy. Deutsch has the same self-assurance of his own brilliance that many of his peers have, but he has dialed up the in-your-face quality of his own personal brand by several notches over the industry standard. He's not inauthentic; rather, he lets it all hang out—including his shirtless torso—and what hangs out is something you'd rather not see. He is a man we'd prefer not hear from quite as much, or at all.