Perhaps there is a reason why professors who outline the benefits of collectivism stick to the theoretical and hypothetical. “Make a list of all the innovations that came out of the Soviet Union and Cuba,” John Allison, the former CEO of BB&T urged the lunchtime audience at the Philadelphia Society’s regional meeting. “It’s a very short list.”
“Make a list of all the innovations that have come out of government bureaucrats.” The audience at the Ritz Carlton appreciated the point: The Philadelphia Society is a group of conservative intellectuals formed in the wake of the Goldwater defeat in 1964.
Since leaving BB&T, Allison has gone on to teach at Wake Forest and preside over the Cato Institute, probably the nation’s leading libertarian think tank. Yet and still, Allison is understandably proud of his own free market achievements.
“During my almost 20-year-tenure as CEO from 1998 to 2008, BB&T grew from $4.5 billion to $152 billion in assets, a compound annual growth rate of approximately 20 percent,” Allison writes in his book, The Leadership Crisis and the Free Market Cure. “Even with this rapid growth, we were a top-quartile performer in shareholder returns and did not experience a single quarterly loss during the financial crisis.”
“Our client satisfaction was the highest of any large financial institute in the United States, and our employee turnover the lowest.”