Come, I will conceal nothing from you: when I heard that Mary Burke had been essentially accused of being a nepotism-loving nincompoop who had to be fired from her father’s company (Trek Bicycle Corp) because she couldn’t hack the family business, I… shrugged. The original story had one named source – former Trek HR director Gary Ellerman, who is now the chairman of the Jefferson County Republican Party – and a couple of anonymous ones; and while the story certainly rang true you could make a legitimate case that the whole thing was just a partisan attack. Well, OK, it is a partisan attack; which doesn’t make it false, but does make the whole thing arguable.
But then stuff happened. First off, this:
Mary Burke tells mainstream media she wasn’t fired, Trek just “reorganized and eliminated the position that I had.”
— Wisconsin Reporter (@wisconsinreport) October 29, 2014
…So, yeah, she was fired. Something that got confirmed by Tom Albers, former COO of the company. Albers comes across as being incredibly reluctant to talk about this, not to mention being highly sympathetic to Mary Burke (“I’m not saying she was incompetent… Maybe this job was too big for her.”). Apparently Mary Burke’s tenure in Europe as head of Trek’s European operations was plagued with poor employee relations, integration of existing networks, lowered revenue issues, and other executive-level problems: so allegedly Mary Burke was eventually removed and sent to go snowboarding for a couple of years. Which is… nice, I suppose; but it’s not exactly reassuring. There are no family members available to bail out Mary Burke when she messes up again, after all.
One other thing to note: the anonymous Wisconsin Reporter sources asked to be anonymous because they were afraid that the Burke family would make their lives miserable. From the Journal Sentinel article, again:
[Tom] Albers said he had resolved to answer questions if asked about Mary Burke but not to volunteer them himself. He said he was concerned that he would face criticism and attempts to discredit him and repeatedly said that he respected Trek as a company and was concerned about appearing to detract from it.
Bolding mine. And maybe those anonymous sources knew what they were talking about.
Links via Jeff B of AoSHQDD, who went off on this story – specifically, how the media managed to somehow miss this until now – in epic Twitter-rant form. Read the whole thing.
Moe Lane (crosspost)