On March 26, 2009, Jake DeSantis, an executive vice president at AIG’s Financial Products division, published a resignation letter in the New York Times. DeSantis was fed up with CEO Liddy’s many public betrayals, most notably agreeing to the bonuses that would become so controversial, and then calling them “distasteful” before congress. While the company was under attack by the torch-and-pitchfork mobs as well as the entire Obama administration, Liddy’s actions were nothing less than devastating to the morale of most executives at the beleaguered insurance giant.
DeSantis’s resignation letter ignited its own controversy with certain of the pitchforkers making YouTube videos and writing their opinion pieces that stated, in short, that DeSantis was not only not worth his compensation, he was the lowest form of life on planet Earth.
What may surprise you is that Jake DeSantis is still at AIG. Bound by a loyalty that has nothing to do with money, he is slaving the same 12 hours a day to ensure that his team is on solid footing.
Money can not buy that kind of integrity.
The thing that the pitchforkers can not get through their thick skulls is that people like Jake DeSantis, Rex Shelby, Donald Trump, Jeff Skilling, Scott Yeager, Rush Limbaugh, Howard Ludnik,even poor old Dick Fuld and John Thain, and our own Sean do not dedicate their lives to work for money. Money is a result, it’s true, but it’s not the motivator. What motivates these men is the desire to achieve.
When you take away their ability to achieve, they become ordinary. These men … these great men… We can not afford for them to be ordinary. We must unleash them. Let them do what they do best, so that we all may profit.
The thing that divides achievers from non-achievers is will. The desire and the determination to achieve is all it takes to achieve. It isn’t easy – that’s why these men are the exception and not the rule – but it is simple. And there is nothing that says you can’t be one of them.
In the meantime, we should support the brave, great men like Jake DeSantis. We should recognize them for what they are – the heroes. Ultimately it will be the businessmen like Jake DeSantis and Sean and Rex Shelby who elevate us from the recession – not a Communist named Obama.
Long after the recession as receded, these men will continue doing what they do. They will work. They will innovate, expand, and create.
Jake DeSantis matters. Long after the hubbub of the AIG bonuses has been forgotten, long after he finally leaves the company, long after our economy has recovered, Jake DeSantis will matter. After he returns to obscurity, he will still be Jake DeSantis, quietly doing what he does, being who he is – every inch a hero.