America would be a stronger, more democratic and far wealthier nation if our journalists asked questions as directly as the team of Frank Dohmen and Klaus-Peter Kerbusk do in this interview for Spiegel:
SPIEGEL: Is the crisis over for you?
Kleisterlee: No, it isn’t. But we are getting it under better and better control, as you can see from our costs.
SPIEGEL: No wonder, if you do what Philips does and cut thousands of jobs at short notice.
That’s just the beginning.
SPIEGEL: In the consumer electronics division, you’ve already closed almost all of your factories. Is Philips in danger of facing the same fate as German consumer electronics companies like Grundig or Telefunken, which went bust despite being household names?
SPIEGEL: If you’ll pardon our saying so, you’re talking exclusively about computer companies. Your direct competitors are companies like Panasonic and Sony — who still do their own manufacturing. Isn’t your retreat more of a declaration of bankruptcy in the face of competition from Southeast Asia?
Just as important, perhaps, is the way the interviewee, Philips CEO Gerard Kleisterlee, is able to parry each question without – as far as I can tell – losing his cool or equivocation. A great read.
also, it’s quite possible that I’m asking journalists (and CEO’s) to be more German in their interactions.