Execs Reluctant To Accept Presidential Appointment

By John S. McClenahen As five manufacturing executives face Senate hearings on their nominations to senior positions in the incoming Bush Administration, some of their peers have been saying, in effect, "Thanks, but no thanks." In contrast to the relative enthusiasm expressed by CEOs of non-profits, state and local government officials, and lobbyists, executives of the largest U.S. companies have a less favorable view of a presidential appointment, reveals a study by the Presidential Appointee Initiative, a project of the Brookings Institution, a Washington think tank. For example, 93% of the CEOs at non-profit organizations look favorably on a presidential appointment, compared with only 80% of big-company executives. What's more only 10% of the business executives say their employers would "strongly encourage" them to accept a full-time presidential appointment. The potential rigors of the nomination and confirmation process also are a deterrent. Corporate and civic leaders view it as "confusing," and "embarrassing." Says one executive, "The threat of having your family vilified was too much for me."

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