CLEVELAND. Kyle Thatcher is, at 47 years old, the youngest CEO in the history of Prothonotary Bank & Trust Co., a sleepy institution he shook into profitability with innovations that rocked the staid banking community here. “I decided to take a shot at staying open after 3 p.m., and on Saturdays,” he says through the chiseled jaw that has earned him the confidence of regional stock analysts. “Call me crazy, but I think it helps our bottom line if people can get in the building,” he says with a faraway look in his eye that seems appropriate for a business visionary.
“No more complimentary leatherette checkbook covers!”
But Thatcher had no sooner risen to the top than he found something missing from his life. “I just wasn’t enjoying foreclosing on crappy mom and pop businesses the way I did when I was starting out,” he muses. “The thrill was gone–I didn’t love what I was doing anymore.”
So Thatcher signed up for a ten-week crash course in time management with Bonnie Ladsdale, whose company “Time Fighters!” helps top executives find time in their lives to re-charge their batteries and regain the energy they need to increase shareholders’ return on equity which, as the companies who pay for her services agree, is the principal reason for other men’s existence here on earth.
“Let your secretary separate your paper clips into big and small sizes–you don’t have time!”
“Bonnie is a jewel, that’s for sure,” says Herb Wertheimer of Demeter Investment Partners, a hedge fund that places huge bets on the businesses who retain Ladsdale. “She took a mid-cap pet food company that couldn’t make a profit with both hands and turned it into a world-beater we sold for seven times EBITDA, whatever that is.”
Today Ladsdale is giving Thatcher an initial consultation to determine what course of action–weight training, aerobics, stretching–is most likely to help him regain the cocksure attitude that made him the top-ranked graduate of the Kagler School of Management at nearby Waldmore University. “What is it you really, really want to do that you don’t have enough time for now?” she asks him with a glare so intense it could scour a frying pan made sticky with American chop suey crust.
American chop suey: Yum!
Thatcher looks at her cautiously, unused to such an intense interrogation from anyone other than his board of directors and institutional investors. “You want the God’s truth?” he asks somewhat doubtfully.
“You’re wasting my time and yours if you give me anything less,” Ladsdale replies with a poker face.
“Well,” Thatcher begins slowly, after glancing around to make sure there’s no one within earshot in the spacious exercise room, “I would really, really like to have an affair with a sexy woman.”
“Um-hmm,” Ladsdale says as she takes notes. “But somehow or other, there’s never time–right?”
“You got it,” the CEO replies, and it’s as if a great weight has been lifted from his shoulders. “Even with the chauffer-driven limo that takes me to and from work . . .”
“That’s paid for by the company–right?” Ladsdale asks.
“Sure–like my country club memberships. Anyway, what with the job and the charity dinners and the business lunches . . .”
“So a priest, a rabbi and a lady snake charmer are playing miniature golf . . .”
“And the wife?”
“That’s part of the package.”
“And the 2.3 kids . . .”
“Actually we corrected the rounding error, so we’re capped at two–it all eats into your time. I never get a chance to just . . . cut loose and do the Mongolian Cartwheel with a babelicious babe.”
“The Mongolian Cartwheel–is that the one with the bighorn sheep and the box of Milk Duds?”
“No, you’re thinking of the Burkina Faso Half-Twist. The Mongolian Cartwheel is performed with a yak and a movie-size package of Twizzler’s Red Licorice.”
Try the 180-piece “Executive Retreat” container.
“Got it,” Ladsdale says as makes some marginal notes on an intake form. “Okay,” she says, “why don’t you take your clothes off and I’ll check your vital organs.”