Some chief executive officers are just plain bankable. They can be counted on to deliver excellent results regardless of the backdrop.
They are like great football coaches, Urban Meyer at Ohio State or Pete Carroll with the Seattle Seahawks or, of course, Bill Belichick with the New England Patriots. You wouldn't recognize national champion Ohio State if the Buckeyes weren't run by Meyer. As much as I like Richard Sherman and Russell Wilson and Marshawn Lynch, it's Carroll that's made Seattle great. Sure, Brady's the best in the game, but the game is ruled by the iron-fisted Belichick. You wouldn't like these teams' odds without these people at the helm.
Readers of "Get Rich Carefully" -- now in paperback with a new introduction! -- know that I believe in investing with CEOs who can be compared to those coaching greats.
We see that writ large today.
Consider Disney (DIS) and Bob Iger, one of my bankable 21 I describe in "Get Rich." This stock hit an all-time high today and it has done so because of Bob Iger's stewardship. Now Iger is way too humble to take even a smidgen of credit for this, he's a total team guy. So let me do that for him. I remember a time before Iger where Disney was this inconsistent entity run in a byzantine fashion by executives who are barely worth mentioning in the same breath as Iger. So I won't.
Iger, on the other hand, has built a company around key brands, whether they be Marvel or Pixar characters or, by the end of this year, the featured players of "Star Wars." By making movies and rides from this stable of franchises he has dramatically limited his risk. But last night, when I was watching the college championship, I realized how brilliant Iger is because, if I chose not to pay for ESPN, I wouldn't see this game. It wasn't on the network. I wouldn't have seen the thrilling games leading up to it, either or hear the analysis of the best-in-class announcers. I couldn't do my most beloved hobby, fantasy football, without the ESPN NFL Countdown gang. ESPN is integral to a sport's enthusiast life. I can't cut that cord. That's why I always tell you that you should give your kids shares of Disney for the holidays. They can understand the stock market from them and they can profit from them, too.
I feel the same way exact way about Bob Hugin, the CEO of Celgene (CELG). Bob was handed a company with only one real franchise, Revlimid, a blood cancer drug that was a derivative of the old thalidomide drug that caused so much tragedy among pregnant women and their children. He has since bought and developed potential blockbusters for all sorts of cancers and, most importantly, he has invested billions of Celgene's excess cash in a series of companies that have tremendous promise, including Agios (AGIO), which has a novel way to stop cancer that may turn out to be the real breakthrough in this endless battle against that horrid disease.
Both Hugin and Iger work for you 24-7 maximizing profit (not cash flow, not some non-GAAP something or other, but actual profit). I don't know if I would want to own either stock without these gentlemen being in charge, even as I am wondering if they aren't so good that they will develop top-notch secession plans, too.
In this suddenly very volatile market, I think it is important to single out those who can be banked on regardless of the averages. Bob Iger from Disney, Bob Hugin from Celege, congratulations for taking your companies' stocks to all-time highs today. You deserve the accolades. You've earned them.