Some Amusing Stuff On Expenses & Cost Controls

Friday's story about Citi appointing an 'Expense Czar' resulted in a few of our readers sending in some amusing suggestions, and reminding us about a series of witty memos sent to staff by former Bear Stearns Chairman & CEO Alan 'Ace' Greenberg, many of which were later collated and published in a book called 'Memos From the Chairman'.

One of our readers pointed out that the Rockefeller story we ran (about saving money from one drop of solder) was similar to something American Airlines did, when they removed one olive and two peanuts from each passenger food tray after times got tough post September 11th. The company is said to have saved over $3m! The reader pointed out that the hold temperature in most airlines doesn't fall between 5 degrees C, and Citi might want to think about encouraging their staff to forgo business class, and get ferried in the hold instead - the cost savings would be immense.

And here's the famous 'Paper Clip' memo sent by Greenberg:

'I was just shown the results for the first quarter. They were excellent. When mortals go through a prosperous time period (however), it seems to be human nature for expenses to balloon. We are going to be the exception. I have just informed the purchasing department that they should no longer purchase paper clips. All of us receive documents every day with paper clips on them. If we save these paper clips, not only will we have enough for our own use, but we will also, in a short time, be awash in the little critters. Periodically, we will collect excess paper clips and sell them (and since the cost to us is zero, the Arbitrage Department tells me the return on capital will be above average)'.

And another example:

'This may come as a surprise to some of you, but Federal Express is not a wholly owned subsidiary of Bear Stearns'.

Top Firm Appoints 'Expense Czar'

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