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Let's Not Bench Tyco's Star Quarterback


William C. Symonds' commentary on L. Dennis Kozlowski, "Tyco's CEO: Time to walk the plank" (News: Analysis & Commentary, May 13), utilizes techniques of Monday-morning quarterbacking that do an overwhelming disservice to readers who are attempting to assess fairly a highly successful chief executive maneuvering his company during an important juncture. In the interest of fairness, some clarifications are in order.

Symonds states that Kozlowski "appeared to transform an obscure industrial conglomerate into a powerhouse." The fact is that Mr. Kozlowski did turn a $3 billion cyclical manufacturer in 1992 into a $36 billion global conglomerate in fiscal 2001 with solid businesses making world-class products depended upon by millions of households and businesses around the world. It is important to note that most of Mr. Kozlowski's 26-year career at Tyco International Inc. was spent running businesses and developing organic growth in highly competitive markets.

Symonds states that Tyco is "wildly zigzagging" since the breakup plan. The fact is that Tyco was and is still being advised by the best and the brightest people on Wall Street, has gotten past the breakup plan, and is solidly on a steady course of growth and return on capital.

Finally, Symonds offers his opinion that the quarterback (Mr. Kozlowski) should be taken out. This rationale is flatly wrong. Now, more than ever, Mr. Kozlowski's extraordinary record of success and knowledge of his company is absolutely essential to the success of Tyco. It was, after all, Mr. Kozlowski who led Tyco to nine straight years of success.

Before Symonds summarily dismisses Mr. Kozlowski, he might recall his own comprehensive analysis article ("The most aggressive CEO," Cover Story, May 28, 2001) where he stated: "Kozlowski has made a career of confounding the critics." Or is Symonds' commentary on Tyco just "wildly zigzagging?"

Maryanne Kane

Chief Communications Officer

Tyco International Ltd.

Exeter, N.H. Your recent article on General Electric Co., "The education of Jeff Immelt" (Cover Story, Apr. 29) refers to anthrax attacks at NBC, Enron's implosion, and "accounting scandals at Tyco International." May I ask, to what "scandals" are you referring?

Certainly, a lot of questions have been asked about our accounting--and we have answered all of them during the course of eight straight weeks of live investment-community conference calls. What there has not been is any indication of wrongdoing, any kind of restatement, any official inquiries into Tyco's accounting or, for that matter, any "accounting scandals."

J. Brad Gee

Executive Vice President

Tyco International (U.S.) Inc.

Exeter, N.H. The greatest harm inflicted on Israel's economy comes from the global high-tech downturn, not from the current conflict--contrary to what you suggest in "Israel: The economic cost of war" (News: Analysis & Commentary, Apr. 29). In fact, there are many bright spots on the economic landscape, such as the biotech, security, and defense industries, which continue to innovate and attract foreign investors.

From Jan. 1, 2001, through Apr. 1, 2002, the Amidex Israel Technology Index (which tracks 35 Nasdaq-listed Israeli companies) was down 31%--roughly equal to the 29% Nasdaq decline. Furthermore, the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange in 2001 outperformed the Nasdaq, the Dow Jones industrial average, and the Standard & Poor's 500-stock index. Brainpower remains Israel's greatest natural resource--one that adapts quickly to new markets and situations. With these factors in mind, Israel is well-positioned for future growth.

Zohar Peri

Economic Minister

Israeli Mission to North America

New York


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