Pope Francis is a man of humility and modesty.Â He connects with people and demonstrates love for them.Â Add one more quality to this Pope’s toolbox — he’s a darn good manager. Pope Francis suspended the Bishop of Limburg for spending $42 million in renovations for his residence.Â Bishop Franz-Peter Tebartz-van Elst has joined the ranks of the likes of Dennis Kozlowski, the former CEO of Tyco, who had Tyco pay for $6,000 a shower curtain for his New York City apartment remodeling.Â Mr. Kozlowski currently resides in the New York state hoosegow doing penance for embezzlement.Â There is also John Thain, former CEO of Merrill Lynch, who had Merrill pay for his office remodeling when he took over as CEO, including $87,784 on two guest chairs and $35,115 for a commode on legs (whatever that is).Â Â To his credit, when news of the remodeling hit the media, Mr. Thain paid Merrill back.Â His tenure at Merrill was short lived.
Bishop Franz-Peter hasÂ rationalizations for the level of expense.Â Things cost more because the historic nature of the buildings must be preserved.Â Yes, historians are sticklers for demanding $34,000 conference tables.Â The Bishop also instructed the architect for the renovation to create a structure that would “still be full of dignity in a century.”Â Â That explains the need forÂ the $20,000 bathtub.Â My parents’ $78 bathtubsÂ are still hanging on 43 years after their installation.
Somehow that vow of poverty must have included a few loopholes. Pope Francis has established a new “tone at the top.” The loopholes stop here.