Yummy Ethanol: To Drink or to Drive

Archer-Daniels-Midland CEO Patricia Woertz blasted ethanol for use in fuesl when she was with Chevron (7 years ago). Now she's acquired a taste for it, as the new CEO of ADM (supermarket to the world). The New York Times reports in "A Bet on Ethanol, With a Convert at the Helm."

Let's see, let's see, what are my options here...

  • "Delicious irony?" No, not quite direct enough.
  • "Yummy mix-up?" That's probably worse.
  • Could get lewd, but I won't try that.
  • How's about, "Corny Consequences Abound: For ADM, and, worse yet, For Bad Blog Lines." Well clearly self-defeating there.
  • "Cornrows back in style: But were they ever out, asks a perky ADM CEO?"
  • "The Interest Model in Sociological Theory: It's Pretty Low Fare, as far as compelling explanations go, and it's a bit outdated -- where you look to the interests of the person making the claim to understand the veracity or lack thereof of that claim -- But Do We Need to Go Any Further In This Case?"

I'll keep trying.

From the article:

BACK in 1999, when she was the head of refining at Chevron, Patricia A. Woertz told a group of energy officials that it was "time to stop mixing agricultural policy with fuels policy."

In that same speech, at a fuels conference in Washington, Ms. Woertz also publicly expressed worry about the "unintended consequences" of a federal mandate requiring the use of corn-based ethanol in gasoline.

Today Ms. Woertz is standing on the other side of the gasoline debate, wholeheartedly supporting the growth of ethanol, the fuel the oil industry loves to hate but has had to learn to live with. In May, she took over as the chief executive of Archer Daniels Midland, the giant agricultural company that also happens to be the biggest ethanol producer in the country.

and this:

Ethanol has been a boon to A.D.M.'s fortunes, helping it to achieve record earnings last year of $1.3 billion on sales of $36.6 billion. While the company does not break down the sources of its profit, analysts say ethanol could make up 40 percent of A.D.M.'s net income in fiscal 2007, about double what it meant to the company last year.

All very interesting, and more.

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How about "Company employee and representative espouses view of company, not personal beliefs"?

It's about as ironic or surprising as "Company employee adopts company standard dress code, saves pink leather thong for private occasions".

You really think that's a valid analogy? Subordination of individual belief to a corporate ethic in terms of energy and ecology is analogous to choice of clothing?

It is perfectly analogous. In both cases you're acting as a representative of an organization, reflecting its values and beliefs - and its dress code - not your own. It is part of your job to do so, part of what you get paid for. Note that I didn't say anything about changing your personal beliefs, just that when acting in public you espouse the company line, not your own.

If your personal beliefs contradict the company ones, and they are strongly held ones, then you need to have a good think on whether you can continue your job or not. But most beliefs of most people are not all that strong, really; you would probably prefer things one way, but the opposite way is no disaster either, from your point of view, and you can certainly live with it.

This is no stranger than a company sales representative that privately feels the competitors' current product really is better, but still pushes his own product in sales meetings.