Desperately seeking Sabia

The Globe and Mail has a well-written article showing a behind-the-scenes look at BCE and CEO Michael Sabia, and a blow-by-blow account of how the BCE privatization went down. Other topics include his stint in Ottawa in his younger years crafting the GST, Project Galileo, the 2005 bid to take over Fido, and why Telus bowed out of the bidding war:

According to Sabia and the BCE camp, no such agreement was ever struck. “Telus’s position, for instance, on antitrust remedies?” asked Sabia. “Snowball’s chance in hell.” Currie, who added to the bad blood following the auction when he described Entwistle and his team as “amateurs,” has since toned it down, but only by a notch. “The requests that Telus made of us were absurd,” he says.

Having correlated the presence of Sabia with the flatlining BCE stock price, many Bell employees do not have particularly positive feelings about his tenure at the helm of Canada’s largest telecommunications company. However, he as a person was always personable, he could respond effortlessly in English and French, and he was a straight talker – he didn’t beat around the bush. He always seemed to be trying his best, whether the stock markets thought it was good enough or not.

I had the chance to shake Sabia’s hand once, on the tarmac of a private airfield in Mississauga. And yes, he was wearing his conservatively-cut, signature red wool sweater.

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