Chapter 8

Walking Over a Bridge Not Burned

Goodness is the only investment that never fails.

—Henry David Thoreau

Shortly after implementing the restructuring plan for TAW Leasing International, I decided it was time to leave the company. I called up Coy Eklund, the chief executive officer at Equitable Life and requested a meeting. He welcomed the visit. Coy was already aware of the recent developments.

“It sounds to me like TAW did everything it could to exercise that contract,” Coy reassured me. “I knew that you were determined to do this. I really did. That’s why I didn’t want to stand in your way.

“But, at the same time, you know, I knew the challenges that you were going to face,” he said, his voice and manner almost fatherly. “This is why I wanted to give you the option of coming back. You still have that option.”

I felt my thanks before I could say it. He went on to ease the sense of failure over the whole TAW affair.

“You should not at all be disappointed in yourself or think that you have failed,” Coy told me. “Dealing with countries that are still in an early stage of their economic development, these things are inevitable. I respect you for your effort in Zambia, but we’d love to have you back here at the Equitable. You know that.”

“Thank you, Coy,” I finally managed. “What role would you have in mind for me?”

Coy suggested we take some time to think about it and talk in a few days. I left the meeting thanking God that I didn’t burn the Equitable bridge when I left to ...

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