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Jewish World Review Sept. 17, 2002 / 11 Tishrei, 5762

Art Buchwald

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Consumer Reports

Jack and Jane | Jack and Jane went up the hill to get a pail of water. Then Jack fell in love with a younger woman - and all hell broke loose.

It's one thing to have been the CEO of one of the largest companies in the world. It's another to be a CEO sued for divorce.

An example of this is Jack Welch, the retired Chairman of General Electric, who became a household name when he wrote a best-selling book on his enormous business success and what it was like to be one of the most admired men of the 20th century.

Because he was such a good CEO, his board voted him all sorts of perks if he stayed on beyond his retirement age.

No one would have cared about it except that he dumped his wife, Jane, for an editor from the Harvard Business Review.

As soon as this happened, he stopped being known as "Good Jack." Women started referring to him as "Bad Jack."

In a bitter divorce proceeding, Jane Welch asked that she receive $600,000 a month (this is not a typo) in alimony, which she and her lawyer thought she deserved for her pain and emotional distress.

The reason the injured wife demanded the alimony is that Jack Welch, as chief executive, was on corporate welfare from GE.

Welch's perks included a fistful of dollars, a company plane for life, a free apartment on Central Park West for life, all he can eat at a five-star restaurant of his choice, and floor tickets to every Knicks game at Madison Square Garden.

When GE stockholders read the list of perks, they complained, but Welch said, "I deserved it."

The trouble is that if Jane Welch gets divorced, she will no longer share in Jack's perks. This means, she says, Welch has to provide the lifestyle that she enjoyed before Jack took up with "that other woman."

Jane listed some of the perks she would lose because of the divorce. They include monthly expenses for a new house or apartment, $11,000 for jewelry, $4,000 for a car and chauffeur, $7,000 for clothing, $2,500 for dining out, $3,000 for gifts, and an unspecified amount for her personal trainer.

Now the question that arises is how much was Jack getting in GE money for his personal use?

Jane's lifestyle will never be the same. During the years of wedded bliss, she gave away free GE refrigerators to her friends, rode on helicopters anytime she wanted to, and had box seats to the opera.

Jack and Jane went up the hill to fetch a pail of money. Jack fell down and broke his vows, and Jane's going to make him pay for it.

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08/27/02: No smoking --- I love you
08/23/02: Ashes to ashes
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06/19/02: Homeland security parking
06/13/02: The Accused
06/11/02: Don't let them know
06/06/02: The FBI changes its ways
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05/28/02: Malice On Purpose: I'm scared!
05/23/02: Barbie Doll
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05/15/02: Those in depression
05/09/02: Mother's Day in the market
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04/15/02: The Sign That Couldn't
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03/15/02: A Mickey Mouse solution
03/13/02: Shadow government in the sandbox
03/07/02: The Way It Is
03/05/02: Not telling the truth
03/01/02: Book flogging
02/27/02: The players are mad

© 2002, TMS