Rudolph Giuliani, Former NYC Mayor

This is a partial transcript from Your World with Neil Cavuto, October 3, 2002, that was edited for clarity. Click here for complete access to all of Neil Cavuto's CEO interviews.

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NEIL CAVUTO, HOST: Now former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani weighs in on this corporate mess. This, from the guy who used to chase corporate fat cats as a zealous New York prosecutor nearly two decades ago. Giuliani, whose autobiography Leadership has already become a best-seller telling me just a few minutes ago that these latest scandals are ringing a bell.


RUDOLPH GIULIANI, FMR. NYC MAYOR: Sure, it reminds me. It reminds me of the '80s and the cases that were investigated when I was U.S. attorney, the cases I was involved in.

CAVUTO: But does this remind you of the Michael Milken, the Ivan Boeskys? or is it different?

GIULIANI: I think it's different in a few ways. I think what is being raised now has more to do with practices that were followed in corporate America. Yes, some individual crimes and allegations of individual crimes, but in the '80s that's primarily what it was about, and not necessarily practices that were followed. Here you have practices that were followed by boards, compensation practices. Was there sufficient division in the case of financial institutions, between research and marketing? Did the wall that they established, was it a real one or wasn't it? Those are more systemic questions. And in a way, that's actually better. Because you can figure out the things that have to be improved as long as you don't go too far.

CAVUTO: But do you lump the Jack Welchs who have?

GIULIANI: That's so unfair. No way! What happened to Jack Welch is so unfair. Whatever you think of, you know, the package, the reality is that Jack Welch is one of the examples of someone who probably was, if not the best CEO in the history this country.

CAVUTO: So what do you…

GIULIANI: It is really unfair. It is really unfair to lump him in with cases in which people are being investigated for alleged, or in some cases admitted criminal activity. He and GE made a deal for him to stay on, and, I guess maybe I empathize with this more than most, in the middle of a divorce proceeding that was heavily exaggerated and mischaracterized. And I mean, Jack Welch is an example of a great CEO. And the reality is that the questions about the package that was negotiated are questions that probably could have been raised about any number of packages that have been negotiated over the last 15 or 20 years, except those people were lucky enough not to have it raised at this time.

CAVUTO: At this time. Let me ask you, one of the things that comes through in your book, and I remember covering you as a prosecutor, certainly as your days as mayor, I got the impression with you, I could be wrong, but the buck stopped with you. You took full accountability. And now hearing these CEOs and a lot of these CFOs, well, I didn't know, he was doing it, or, this was my guy who was doing it, not me.

GIULIANI: I have a name plate on my desk that I had there all during the time I was mayor, called - it says, instead of my name, it says "I am responsible." And I used to look at that time and I would say to myself any time that tendency existed to try and slough off responsibility, you just realize that you're responsible for the things that go wrong, even if it is unfair to hold you responsible for it. Even if it.

CAVUTO: You were also tenacious about it. Bernie said of you, you don't "F" with him. What did he mean by that?

GIULIANI: You have to do the best that you can to know what's going on in your organization. And we go back to Jack Welch, that's Jack Welch. I read his book. I read many of the books about him. And Jack Welch ran GE and that's the reason it performed so well. In very much the same way, he took accountability for it.

CAVUTO: But I mean, you could be like a hard ass, right? but at the same time you had to be compassionate. Mayor Koch had said of you, he can be a wicked, wicked man.

GIULIANI: It depends. If you're trying move an entrenched, politically correct city that doesn't want to embrace the idea of welfare reform and doesn't see the value of getting people off welfare and moving them towards work, which is a city that I had in 1993, '94 and '95, you've got to find some pretty strong measures in order to accomplish that. Or to bring together three police departments into one, when the union strongly objected to it, at least one of them did. On the other hand, if you're dealing with someone who has been the victim of a crime, or someone who a police officer who has just been shot or a firefighter whose family has to deal with the fact that he may die or is dying, then you have to reach into yourself and you have to show compassion and understanding.

CAVUTO: Speaking of dying, you made it a point, in fact, you devoted a large section of your book to the fact that funerals were very important for you to be at. I think you went to every single one of those who lost their lives in the World Trade Center, and many before that, obviously. You never missed one.


CAVUTO: Your successor has been criticized because he didn't quite have that same.

GIULIANI: Well, he shouldn't have been because the reality is that up until September 11, I went to every funeral and I was at the bedside of every person working for New York City who was seriously injured to the point of maybe possibly facing death. But after September 11 I realized I couldn't do that. And I still bear a lot of guilt for that. Because I wanted to be at every single one. I tried.

CAVUTO: But you were at over 300, did you know that?

GIULIANI: But I wasn't at every one. And when I see the names sometimes, I remember the ones that I was at and the ones that I couldn't be at. And I felt that it was my responsibility. And I would urge that if we're talking to corporate offices and CEOs, the very, very best way to build responsibility and loyalty at this in your organization is to be there when something difficult happens to the people that work for you, to go the extra mile. My father, my father used to say to me that weddings are discretionary, funerals are mandatory. When friends of yours or people who work with you or work for you are having a joyous occasion, it is nice to be there, and you should if you can. But if you have to make a choice between the wedding and the funeral, be there for the funeral because that's when people really need you. And if you're there for them when they need you, they are going to be there for you when you need them.


CAVUTO: Rudy Giuliani.

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