It’s common sense that you don’t get to be worth $65 billion just by being a nice guy. Warren Buffett owns an enormous number of companies, all of which are run fairly ruthlessly. Bloomberg today profiles one of the “superstar” CEOs who send the profits back to Buffett’s home office: Mark Donegan, the leader of Precision Castparts, a company that Buffett bought this year for $37 billion.
Those who know the CEO best describe a manager who’s highly effective but at times strains basic decency.
These people, most of whom asked that their names not be used for fear of retaliation, say they have witnessed Donegan using profanity and violent language. One heard him threaten to stab someone in the eyes with a pencil. Another says the CEO threatened to rip an employee’s arms off so he could hit the person with the bloody stumps. On more than one occasion, the people say, he has called male employees “c—ts.”
You don’t get rich being a softie.