Vetting Mitt Romney: Meet Romney's Bain Colleague Ed Conard

Edward Conard: I started writing the book four years ago, five years ago, and Mitt wasn’t running for president at the time.  I didn’t realize it was going to take me this long to write it.  I sold the book before the primary season really started. . . . So who would know that we would be in this position right now?  I think that Mitt’s going to have to undergo tremendous scrutiny.  Bain Capital will have to undergo tremendous scrutiny.  If he can’t survive that scrutiny, he won’t be the president.  I don’t know that I add, in the big picture, that much, that much more to the scrutiny that he’s going to undergo, but . . .  

I’m a bit under a confidentiality agreement when it comes to specifics at Bain, but I will tell you this: I was in the room with him day in and day night, year after year, making very tough decisions.  I’ll tell you what I saw.  He’s an outstanding executive.  He’s a brilliant guy, really has a deep understanding of business and how the economy works.  There was rarely a time when he was disagreeing with me when I was thinking to myself, “This guy just doesn’t get it.”  I was thinking, “Boy oh boy, I don’t get it, and I need to think about this differently.”

He surrounded himself with top-notch people that were close to as good as him or as good as him.  He encouraged us to challenge him and to challenge each other.  When you went in the room to present something to him, you went into the room prepared, because him and ten other guys were going to ask you very tough and thoughtful questions.  And you spent a lot of time trying to think about what all the questions could be and what all the answers would be.  He worked hard to build consensus.  He was decisive when he needed to be decisive.  

And he was always focused on one thing, and that’s what creates value in the long run.  He had very little interest in the short run.  I think his view was if we do what’s right in the long run, everything in the short run will take care of itself.  Investors will come along.  They’ll look at the businesses that we’ve created.  They’ll put a lot more value because they’ll look into the future and they’ll see stronger, more successful companies.  So he was always making the tradeoff on the long run versus the short run. 

Directed / Produced by
Jonathan Fowler & Elizabeth Rodd

According to Mitt Romney's former Bain Capital colleague Ed Conard, Romney is someone who tended to always take the longview in business.

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