Get the latest market trends in your inbox

Stay on top of the latest market trends and economic insights with the Axios Markets newsletter. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Denver news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Denver

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Des Moines news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Des Moines

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Minneapolis-St. Paul news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Minneapolis-St. Paul

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Tampa-St. Petersburg news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Tampa-St. Petersburg

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Photo illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios. Photos: Mike Coppola/Getty Staff, Phillip Faraone/Stringer

Twitter founder Jack Dorsey is, in some strange way, the modern-day version of Jack Welch.

The big picture: Dorsey, the embattled yet sensitive founder and CEO of Twitter and Square, has almost nothing in common with Welch, the corporation man who led General Electric as it became the largest company in America. Yet Dorsey exemplifies today's West Coast leaders just as Welch helped to define the celebrity CEO of the 1980s and '90s.

  • Welch, who died on Sunday at age 84, was combative and irascible. “You can’t even say hello to Jack without it being confrontational,” said one manager in 1988. Dorsey, by contrast, is introverted and conflict averse.
  • Welch was lavishly paid — his severance agreement alone amounted to $417 million — while Twitter pays Dorsey $1.40 per year. Yet Dorsey is much richer than Welch ever was, with a net worth somewhere in the $6 billion range.
  • Welch was famously blunt and quotable; Dorsey speaks in annoyingly circuitous generalities.
  • Welch acquired his "Neutron Jack" nickname by constantly firing employees, even in good years. Dorsey acquired the #WeBackJack hashtag by creating what staffers characterize as a "caring family" and spending a lot of time listening to employees and supporting them.
  • Welch was a loyal company man, who rose up the ranks at GE to become a singleminded CEO; Dorsey left Twitter, started Square, and now runs them both simultaneously while still making time for the occasional 10-day silent vipassana meditation in Myanmar.

Welch obsessively managed GE's quarterly earnings and achieved much of his success through financial engineering, creating billions of dollars of profit from the GE Capital subsidiary that almost blew up the entire company during the financial crisis.

  • That kind of thing is very unfashionable these days, but Dorsey is learning that you're only really safe in your job so long as the share price keeps rising.
  • No one is agitating for Dorsey's ouster at Square, whose share chart has been gratifyingly up-and-to-the-right. Twitter, by contrast, is still well below the $45 per share at which it started trading after its IPO in 2013.

The bottom line: Activist hedge fund Elliott Associates wants Dorsey out as CEO of Twitter. And as Kara Swisher put it in her NYT column, "a good heart is the one thing that won’t help at all."

Go deeper

Trump threatens to veto Defense spending bill over social media shield

Photo: Erin Schaff - Pool/Getty Images

President Trump tweeted Tuesday a threat to veto a must-pass end-of-year $740 billion bill defense-spending authorization bill unless Congress repeals a federal law that protects social media sites from legal liability.

Why it matters: Trump's attempt to get Congress to end the tech industry protections under Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act is the latest escalation in his war on tech giants over what he and some other Republicans perceive as bias against conservatives.

The walls close in on Trump

Photo: Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images

With Bill Barr's "Et tu, Brute!" interview with AP, President Trump is watching the walls close in on his claims of fraud, hoaxes and conspiracies.

Why it matters: Trump and his legal team continue to claim election fraud. But the Republican governors of Arizona and Georgia have certified their elections, a loyalist like Barr has weighed in, and lower-ranking officials have taken potshots.

Congress plots COVID pandemic-era office upgrades

oving crates outside Rep. Elise Stefanik's old office Tuesday. Photo: Bill Clark/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

The House plans to renovate members' suites even though staff are worried about an influx of contractors and D.C. is tightening restrictions on large gatherings, some staffers told Axios.

Why it matters: The Capitol has been closed to public tours since March. Work over the holiday season comes as U.S. coronavirus cases spike, Americans beg for more pandemic assistance and food lines grow.

Get Axios AM in your inbox

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!