Deals Amid the Distress – Guys golf trips

If Dick Cheney is looking for employment, he might consider organizing corporate golf outings. His familiarity with secure, undisclosed locations would come in handy. What company these days wouldn’t want to hold its annual executive retreat or employee-recognition event at one of those?

Since October, when American International Group was put in the stocks for staging a luxurious $400,000 weeklong retreat at a resort in California, one week after receiving $85 billion in federal bailout funds, corporations have been slithering under rocks when it comes to golf-related activities.

Goldman Sachs, for example, last week canceled its big annual hedge-fund conference, scheduled for March, at the Fairmont Turnberry Isle resort in Miami. A company spokesman cited “the current environment.” The Ritz-Carlton resort at Half Moon Bay, Calif., said more than 30 business groups have canceled retreats there since last fall, at a loss of more than $2 million in revenue. Wells Fargo took out a full-page ad in several newspapers last weekend to defend its practice of rewarding employees with outings — it called such events “the heart of our culture because our product is service” — but nevertheless canceled all of its major employee-recognition events for 2009.

wsj.com
2/14/09