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Saturday August 02, 2014
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Tom and Russ

 

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"He marched into my office precisely at the hour we'd agreed on," Monaghan wrote, "stiffly put out his hand, and said: 'Good morning. My name is Leroy A. Russell Hughes. My friends call me Russ.' I was impressed by his appearance. His dark blue business suit was obviously custom-tailored. I noted that the initials monogrammed on the cuff of his crisp white shirt were R.A.H., but it didn't occur to me to ask about the extra name he'd used to introduce himself. He wore glasses tinted so dark that I couldn't make eye contact with him, and this bothered me a bit."

Hughes showed Monaghan a list of the companies he had worked for with his salaries written out beside each position in fastidiously neat handwriting. "His description of what he'd done for these firms was fascinating," Monaghan told me. "He kept repeating that he understood how to achieve excellence in corporate management, that the company that followed his approach would achieve excellence. He was hypnotic."

The main reference Hughes gave was an "outstanding executive" in the Ann Arbor area. "'But unfortunately,' Hughes told Monaghan, 'he's on a business trip in Japan right now, so I'm afraid you won't be able to reach him.'"

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