United Spendologies — How George David Failed to Control His Wife's Spend

I was laughing out loud on the bus when I read this story on Fox the other day on my iPhone. Now, divorce is never something to brush off lightly. I feel bad that former UTC CEO George David and his ex-wife, Marie Douglas-David, are splitting up. As the child of divorced parents, I can honestly say that when relationships fail, everyone pays the price. But the price for David is quite high in this case, as his ex, "a 36-year-old Swedish countess ...[says] she cannot live on $43 million," the amount agreed to in a post-nuptial agreement both signed. According to Fox, Douglas-David says "she has no income and needs her 67-year-old husband, George David, to pay her more than $53,000 a week ...she has more than $53,800 in weekly expenses, including the maintainance of a Park Avenue apartment and three residences in Sweden. Her weekly expenses also include $700 for limousine service, $4,500 for clothes, $1,000 for hair and skin treatments, $1,500 for restaurants and entertainment [seems low, no?], and $8,000 for travel."

Most of us would look at a situation like this and dismiss it as yet another tale about the extravagances of the rich and famous. But George David is no Dennis Kozlowski (Tyco's former chief). David will go down in history as the executive who championed company-wide e-sourcing, supplier development and supply risk management ahead of nearly any other large global corporation. The man is a legend for saving money in the workplace. How he allowed his Countess to get so out of control, I don't know. It's ironic and sad. As an early investor in -- and customer of -- FreeMarkets, UTC was one of the most forward thinking companies when it came to massive-scale procurement-led cost reduction (we're talking what is probably now in the billions of dollars in savings). Given how David championed the cause of smart cost reduction in the workplace -- one of his legacies is that many of the former Director-level procurement leaders from UTC are now influential CPOs elsewhere -- it's a shame he could not teach his ex-wife a few Spend Management tricks on the home front.

Jason Busch

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