Big Men of Business - Part II

  • 4 min read

In Part I we took a look at how throughout history being a big man has always been associated with power. Furthermore, we found it was much the same in today’s modern business world: having greater physical stature still lends itself to being more influential. In this article we continue our efforts to uncover big business men who left their mark on society. So, let’s take a look at a big man New York City property developer turned politician as well as a big man robber baron.

Big Man Politician: Donald Trump

 big men business donald trump golf

"As long as you are going to be thinking anyway, think big" ~ Donald Trump

No investigation into big men of business would be complete without mentioning The Donald. Very much in the news recently (when isn’t he? – Ed.), the 74 year old just returned from a spell away from the spotlight after fighting off a nasty dose of Coronavirus.

Love him or loathe him (there is no middle ground) the big, brash, outspoken, and highly influential US President normally makes for compelling viewing. Indeed, whenever he speaks everyone just seems to be waiting for the latest brain fart from the most powerful person in the world. There are far too many “did-he-just-say-that?” moments from the Pres to mention in the space of this article. Nor do we want to get too political. However, one of his biggest stuff-ups surely was the time he nearly began WWIII when he reminded North Korean leader Kim Jong-un how he too had a "nuclear button" via Twitter!

However, it didn’t always look like the young Donald was bound for such lofty heights. Indeed, his parents off to military school when only 13 for behaving like a miscreant.

As the story goes, after graduating from uni he was bequeathed a modest $1 M dollars by his father. Donald then entered the family business: property development. After his father died in 1999, Donald began on one of his most well-known projects ever: erecting the 68-storey Trump Tower on Manhattan’s Fifth Avenue.

From that point on there was no stopping the big man business juggernaut. He increasingly got his fingers into a lot of pies: from building hotels and casinos, to being part owner of the Miss Universe beauty pageants. He also graced our TV screens from 2004 to 2017 as the host who liked to fire people on The Apprentice (for which he was reportedly paid a whopping $213 million by NBC).

After being roasted by former US President Barack Obama in 2011, Trump finally got his own back by stealing into the White House in 2017. Indeed, once he finally cracked the big time, the big man got straight to work… on his golf swing! In fact, suggests that President Trump plays golf an average of once every five days. The President obviously realises the overall benefits of the gentleman’s game on the mind, body and spirit. Maybe it’s where he goes to mull over how to achieve peace in the Middle East.

At the time of writing, despite the many assertions that he is a failed businessman, big man Trump is actually worth a very sizeable $2.5 billion USD.

Style: Golf Wear

Big Man CEO: Walter Howley

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Unabashed price gouger: Walter Howley

You may never have heard of him but rest assured, Walter Howley is one of the highest paid CEOs in the world. He amassed a staggering $61 million in 2017; however, big Walt was only on a $7,000 salary with no bonuses. So, how the big man rake in all that extra cash? As the brains behind TransDigm, a major supplier of aeronautical hardware, Walter’s big pay day came from the $10 million he was paid in company stocks. Where did the other $51 million come from? – I hear you ask. That money seems to have come from what is known in the trade as "other” forms of compensation.

Exactly what the “other” revenue stream was recently came to light during a Congressional hearing on oversight and reform. The hearing learned how Howley was the beneficiary of more monetary reward than the heads of Microsoft, IBM, and Boeing put together! An ex-TransDigm employee informed how Howley’s modus operandi was to overcharge the Pentagon for almost anything, and that it was like “taking candy from a baby.”

Suffice it to say, Mr Walter Howley is no longer the CEO of TransDigm.

Style: Suits

So, there you have it. Four very different big business men tycoons. You may be wondering what can an industrialist, a miner, a property developer-cum-politician, and a dodgy CEO teach us big men about excelling in business?

Combined, these 4 business giants show us regular guys that despite the knockbacks, or the rough start in life we can all reach for the top (with a little help along the way). Just be sure to always act with integrity. Oh, and you know what they say: dress for the job you want, not the job you have. So, what’s stopping you from dressing like a Boss?

By Anthony Cheadle