Lynn Tilton took umbrage when a Ford executive recently suggested that, as the head of an $8 billion private equity firm, Patriarch Partners, which specializes in distressed industrial companies, she "strips and flips" her targets. "It's only men that I strip and flip," she said, according to the Journal. "My companies I hold long and close to my heart." And all signs point to the fact that the CEO, whose "office uniform usually includes five-inch stilettos, an eight-carat diamond necklace and the occasional black leather jumpsuit" isn't kidding. Last year, she told Planet Money she had "fond memories of what I had once done with tassels," and according to today's paper:
Her office walls are filled with whips and handcuffs sent to her by friends, Hashemite daggers given to her by Middle Eastern royals, New Age paintings and a portrait of her stretched across the hood of a black Mercedes.
But when it comes to business, Tilton, a former "aspiring poet" who now commutes to her New York office by helicopter and "owns homes in Florida, Arizona, Hawaii, and a Italian villa on Lake Como, just up the mountain from George Clooney," is "a benevolent dictator."
"Workers really take to Lynn," said Duane Lugdon, a United Steelworkers union staffer who led tense negotiations with Ms. Tilton at the Maine paper plant. "She's just human and honest with people."
It helps, though, if she knows your safe word.