This week we (and when I say we, I mean the show's producers, who did a tremendous job booking these people) got a ton of great CEO interviews for Mad Money at the Half, our midday show running at 1:30p ET during the Olympics.
Mel Karmazin, the CEO of Sirius XM Radio, Martha Stewart, she who built Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, Eric Schmidt, CEO of Google, Jim Skinner, chief exec at McDonald's and Kendall Powell, the CEO of General Mills all appeared on set. And I know the pros and people who've been in the game for a long time recognize the importance of what these people have to say about their companies and their industries.
But I also know that there have to be some people out there who think all CEOs are, to be polite about it, untrustworthy boosters of their own stocks. In all honesty, that's how I felt for the first six months or so I spent working for Mad Money (I come from a very left wing political background, and it took a little while for Jim to deprogram my ideological instincts, at least when it comes to stocks). That view is wrong. Jim knows more about stocks, and here I'm talking about just on an individual level, than I consider healthy, but these CEOs know more about their companies than anybody else. There are a few exceptions, like John Thain, formerly of NYSE Euronext and now Merrill Lynch. But for the vast majority of companies, if you want to know about how they're doing, there's no better source than the CEO.
Regulation FD (Fair Disclosure), put in place by the Securities and Exchange Commission in 2000, prevents executives from breaking material news on TV--they have to do everything by press release to everyone all at the same time. But that doesn't mean they can't give you valuable insights without breaking the rules. If you didn't catch the interviews, watch the clips on the website. If you're cynical about them, believe me, I used to be more cynical than you are by orders of magnitude. Now I'm a convert. If you're still not convinced, read the chapter on CEO interviews in Jim Cramer's Mad Money: Watch TV, Get Rich for more color on some of the biggest wins we've racked up courtesy of CEO interviews.
Cliff Mason is the Senior Writer of CNBC's Mad Money w/Jim Cramer, and has been that program's primary writer, in cooperation with and under the supervision of Jim Cramer, since he began at CNBC as an intern during the summer of 2005. Mason was the author of a column at TheStreet.com during 2007, which he describes as "hilarious, if short-lived." He graduated from Harvard College in 2007. It was at Harvard that Mason learned to multi-task, mastering the art of seeming to pay attention to professors while writing scripts for Mad Money. Mason has co-written two books with Jim Cramer: Jim Cramer's Mad Money: Watch TV, Get Richand Stay Mad For Life: Get Rich, Stay Rich (Make Your Kids Even Richer). He is 100% responsible for any parts of either book that you did not like.
Mason has also had a fruitful relationship with Jim Cramer as his nephew for the last 23 years and will hopefully continue to hold that position for many more as long as he doesn't do anything to get himself kicked out of the family.
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