He wouldn’t know a fact if it bit him on the arse:
The Palm Beach meeting, which has not been previously reported, demonstrates the duality of Romney’s role as he parted ways with Bain, an issue that has sparked controversy in his presidential campaign. Romney has said in financial disclosure statements that he “was not involved in the operations of any Bain Capital entity in any way” after Feb. 11, 1999. But he was still legally the CEO, with numerous duties and obligations that were his alone, until early 2002.
Interviews with a half-dozen of Romney’s former partners and associates, as well as public records, show that he was not merely an absentee owner during this period. He signed dozens of company documents, including filings with regulators on a vast array of Bain’s investment entities. And he drove the complex negotiations over his own large severance package, a deal that was critical to the firm’s future without him, according to his former associates.
Indeed, by remaining CEO and sole shareholder, Romney held on to his leverage in the talks that resulted in his generous 10-year retirement package, according to former associates.
“The elephant in the room was not whether Mitt was involved in investment decisions but Mitt’s retention of control of the firm and therefore his ability to extract a huge economic benefit by delaying his giving up of that control,” said one former associate, who, like some other Romney associates, spoke only on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak for the company.***
James Cox, a professor of corporate and securities law at Duke University, said Bain’s continued reference to Romney as CEO and sole shareholder indicated that Romney was still the final authority. Moreover, Cox said, Romney would likely have been updated regularly about Bain Capital’s profits while he was negotiating his severance package. As a result, Cox said, Romney’s statement that he had no involvement with “any Bain Capital entity” appears “inconsistent” with his actions.
“If he is 100 percent owner, I just find it incredible that what I would call ‘big decisions’ — acquisitions, restructuring, changes in business policy — that they would not have passed on to him on an informational basis, not asking for formal approval but just keeping him in the loop,” Cox said.***
While Romney continued negotiating the terms of the severance deal, he referred to himself as CEO. In July 1999, five months after he had left for Utah, he provided a quote for a press release issued by Rehnert and Wolpow, who had left Bain to start their own firm, Audax. He was referred to as “Bain Capital CEO W. Mitt Romney, currently on a part-time leave of absence.”
In that release, Romney said of the departing partners, “While we will miss them, we wish them well and look forward to working with them as they build their firm.”
Those did not sound like the words of someone who had severed his ties to Bain Capital. To the contrary, it implied that Romney was still a part of Bain and its future. Two and a half years after leaving to run the Olympics, Romney finally signed his severance agreement in August 2001. Still, Romney’s name continued to appear as CEO and owner on dozens of Bain fund documents filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission until January 2002. No one would succeed Romney as CEO of Bain Capital. To this day, Bain is run by a management committee.
He was CEO from 1999-2002. Deal with it, Glenn.