Mark Haines: Phil LeBeau Remembers
It's hard to say just how much Mark Haines will be missed, how much I will miss Mark.
Being in the Chicago Bureau, the vast majority of my dealings with Mark were over the air. Like so many others at CNBC, I felt I had received the "stamp of approval" when Mark gave me a nickname. At first it was Phil "real men drive minivans" LeBeau in reference to the fact I owned (and loved) a minivan at the time. Later, he changed it to Phil "floor on the floor" LeBeau and Phil "flaps down" LeBeau whenever I did an airline or aviation story. I would occasionally tell friends the nicknames bothered me, when in fact I loved them and loved that Mark gave them to me.
What I remember most about working with Mark is his ability to cut through the BS, especially when the automakers were sliding toward bankruptcy.
As the story developed and auto executives and politicians (from both the Bush and Obama administrations) would come on to state their position, Mark would call them out. When the CEO's of the Big Three flew to Capitol Hill for Congressional hearings and were testifying why GM and Chrysler should be bailed out, Mark cut through the posturing by the CEO's and lawmakers. At a time when people were saying, "You can't let the Big Three go under" Mark would say "Why not? If they can't get their act together, we shouldn't save them just to save them."
More than once Mark and I sparred on air about what was happening with the Big Three as they were losing billions of dollars.
I loved those exchanges.
Yes he was tough questioning me and others, but if I (or others) had the facts right he would acknowledge it. When he went at you it was never personal, he was just doing his job. And by the way, he did it the way it should be done, with tough but fair questions.
We will miss you Mark. Not just as a journalist, anchor, and market commentator but more for the fact that we are richer for having known you, worked with you, and being close to you.
Philip J. LeBeau is a CNBC auto and airline industry reporter based at the network's Chicago bureau and the author of the CNBC blog, Behind the Wheel.