Yesterday, under government pressure, the heads of TARP-supported entities such as Citigroup and AIG all disclosed new policies regarding “luxury expenditures” such as entertainment, company events, office renovations, and the use of private jets. The results were ... not really that satisfying.
Citigroup's Vikram Pandit said that he would no longer use the company's private jet for personal use, and AIG banned personal use of company aircraft for everyone. But bankrupt Chrysler only banned employees from flying first-class "on short commercial flights." And PNC just changed their rules to stipulate that senior executives get permission before using company aircraft for personal use, and repay the company from now on, which only serves to give us a horrible picture of what things might've looked like there before.
Bank of America released a vaguely-worded statement saying it would continue to encourage the use of corporate aircraft on business trips for "safety and efficiency reasons," to be determined, we guess, on a case-by-case basis.
"Reasonable usage of the aircraft and other upgraded transportation services for conducting the business of Bank of America is allowed. Use outside of reasonable business development or associate safety would be considered excessive and not allowed. Any exceptions would only be for emergency reasons, and at no time would an emergency exception be considered as excessive."
It reminds us of an article we saw in Bloomberg this morning about how the use of private jets had increased among executives who were afraid of catching swine flu from the dirty masses. "Predominantly it’s the largest corporate clients," the head of one private-jet company told the news service, adding:
They are concerned about the wellbeing of their staff from a commercial, as well as a moral, standpoint.
Hmmm. We wonder if swine-flu fears would fall under Bank of America's "safety" rubric. Probably. After all, everyone knows they're a company that really prizes morality.