Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Cato Avoids Collapse; Ed Crane Out

The nine month war for Cato has ended, or so it seems.

The Associated Press reports that billionaire shareholders Charles and David Koch have an "agreement in principle" to settle two lawsuits brought by the Koch brothers over the ownership of the think tank.
The Cato Institute would get a new CEO within six months; it would be governed by member-directors; and it would no longer have shareholders. Charles Koch would no longer be a director, but David Koch would remain as one.
The agreement would mean the departure of Ed Crane, who’s been CEO for more than three decades. John Allison, the former chief executive officer of BB&T Corp., the banking and financial holding company based in Winston-Salem, N.C., will replace him.
Under the agreement, Cato’s board would have 12 directors, including David Koch, and the Koch brothers would designate an additional three directors. Allison would be an additional board member and could nominate one or two additional directors. Crane would not be a director.
John Allison, Cato's new president, is a major contributor to the Ayn Rand Institute (ARI) based in Irvine, California, and reportedly gave out copies of Atlas Shrugged to his fellow executives.  In addition, all employees at BB&T got a 30-page pamphlet describing BB&T's philosophy and values: reason, independent thinking, and decisions based on facts.

Here is how the New York Times described Mr. Allison in 2009:
Mr. Allison of BB&T has the tall, lean frame, copper-colored hair and confident demeanor of many of Ms. Rand’s fictional heroes, including John Galt — a look “which would not seek forgiveness or grant it.”
He also has a résumé befitting a Rand prophet. He started at BB&T, once known as the Branch Banking and Trust Company, in 1971 and became chief executive in 1989, when the bank had $4.7 billion in assets.
By the time he retired as C.E.O. in December, he had overseen 60 bank and savings-institution acquisitions and turned BB&T into the 11th-largest bank in the nation, with $152 billion in assets, according to the bank.
A 60-year-old who speaks in a rapid-fire Southern accent, Mr. Allison says the current financial crisis is primarily the government’s fault. He criticizes the Fed as trying to manipulate normal business cycles and Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac as facilitating mortgages to people who couldn’t afford them.
Here is what David Weigel at Slate says about the new Cato-Koch agreement.

Laurie Bennett at Muckety.com says that the Koch's won this battle.

Politico reports that the agreement is expected to pave the way for the Kochs (or at least David Koch) to resume donating to the think tank, which stopped receiving Koch money as tensions increased in recent years.

Click here to see a video of Cato Chairman Bob Levy explaining the settlement.

Based on the latest records, Ed Crane receives a base salary of $453,918.