Streel: Lieutenants of Hilo Headow (Revised)

JCab747's picture
JCab747
March 29, 2016 - 4:11am
Portrayed in the media as the big bad wolf of mega-corporations, Streel has managed to survive and prosper in the Frontier Sector since its founding in FY 2, shortly after the end of the First Sathar War. Streel was first mentioned in the Mission to Alcazzar module and then in Knight Hawks, especially in the Warriors of the White Light adventure where it has been portrayed as being banned by the Clarion government from operating in its system for various nefarious acts.

Zebulon’s Guide to the Galaxy provided a bit more information along with giving the corporation its own corporate-owned world.

From Zebs:

STREEL CORPORATION
Streel has grown remarkably in the last few decades and is fast approaching PGC in size and financial power. Streel offices are now spread throughout the Frontier and Rim, the latter an area the PGC has neglected. Streel backs technological research, banking systems, savings and loan institutions, and financial backings for real estate and agricultural areas.
Headquarters: Point True, Pale, Truane's Star
Chief Executive: Hilo Headow (Yazarian)
Subsidiaries: The larger are Greater Vrusk Mutual Prosperity Institution, First Dralasite Savings and Loan chain and the Yazarian Financial Co-op. All of these were once major competitors that Streel acquired.
Allies: MercCo
Enemies: PGC, Galactic Task Force Inc.
Occasional Enemies: CDC
Joe Cabadas
Comments:

JCab747's picture
JCab747
March 29, 2016 - 4:21am
This topic is to have a bit of fun with Streel and flesh it out.

Many of today’s corporations have a chairman of the board or an executive chairman (one who also gets more involved in the day-to-day operations of a company), the chief executive officer and the corporate president.

Then if it’s a large, complex corporation – such as General Motors Corp. before its bankruptcy – there will be a whole host of other executives with titles ranging from chief financial officer (CFO), chief information officer (CIO), chief operating officer (COO) who may also have the title of executive vice president or even vice chairman. Some of these top executives – especially the vice chairman – will be on the board of directors, but some won’t be. Down the corporate chain of command might be the president of such and such division, divisional vice presidents, product line executives and so on with various responsibilities such as public relations, government relations, research, manufacturing, supplier relations, labor relations, finance, insurance, safety, training, etc.

Typically with many American companies, the top executive eventually gets elected as the chairman, the CEO and the president, but this is not always the case. Some companies believe that the chairman should be more of a semi-retired, seasoned executive who can keep an eye on the “big picture” of the industry, the economy and national and international affairs.

The offices of CEO and president might be separate and the people who hold them might be corporate rivals rather than friends. The board of directors is supposed to represent the interests of the stockholders and guide overall policy, but they don’t’ typically get involved in the day-to-day operations of the company.

Very rarely, some boards may challenge and boot out CEOs and presidents who’ve led the company into a financial abyss or a corporate scandal (General Motors is one example where this has happened several times, but there are others, such as Volkswagen with its diesel emissions scandal, or in other industries). Some boards become “good old boy” networks, filled with the friends of the chairman, willing to back any plan just as long as their paychecks keep flowing.

Streel strikes me as an authoritarian corporation with a “good ol’ boy” board of directors and a CEO who would want to also hold the chairman and president offices (better compensation, power and corporate control), though the CEO might not automatically get the chairman’s title. He might need to wait a few years as his predecessor retains the chairman title while enjoying the golf courses while still pulling in a good paycheck.

Note, I am using the traditional English way of using the “he” pronoun in a sentence, but I am not do that to indicate that women can’t be chairman, CEOs or presidents.

Today, a typical CEO might stay in office for 10 years – maybe a lot less if a recession or scandal impacts their firm or if they die in office. Some founder/owners of companies are known to stay in office – or control – for decades such as Henry Ford of Ford Motor Company or his grandson, Henry Ford II. A profession-run, publicly-traded company would want a scheduled turn-over of leadership while the board of directors would expect the CEO to groom potential successors.
Joe Cabadas

JCab747's picture
JCab747
March 29, 2016 - 7:48am

Revised Posting:


Hilo Headow is Streel’s CEO by the year FY 111.


We know very little about Hilo Headow’s background from Zebs, so let’s cherry-pick some other fan-based information to give him a history.


From Shadow Shack: Headow is the purported half-clan brother or a Yazarian revolutionary who calls himself General Yan-Soon Shea-Dow. From ____, Streel’s main base on Laco during Laco’s War was named after Headow.


Rattraveller had a posting here: http://starfrontiers.us/node/7518 that is a good write up on what he pictures Streel's founder to be. So, instead of reinventing the wheel, as I was doing with the original version of this posting, what follows is an edited version to present "Hilo's Lieutenants" -- some of the more notable or notorious Streel executives. 

Joe Cabadas

JCab747's picture
JCab747
March 29, 2016 - 7:56am
Revised:

Streel's Chief Operating Officer (COO)

David “Ruthless” Rewey was Streel's COO about the time of Laco’s War and the Mission to Alcazzar Module.

He was a hero, fighting the Sathar in Truane’s Star during the Frist Sathar War where he obtained the nickname “ruthless.” He was also ruthless in business dealings either as a skilled negotiator or by using intimidation tactics and bribery or willing to engage in violence to defend Streel’s interests.

In the case of Laco’s War and the Alcazzar incident, he was the executive fingered as being responsible for both episodes. He would claim that others had started the conflicts. On Laco, a number of Streel personnel had gone missing, which the company blamed on the Pan-Galactic Corporation. The PGC on the other hand blamed Streel and Rewey for a terrorist bomb blast that killed dozens of its personnel. No one ever discovered the truth about these incidents.

On Alcazzar, Rewey alleged that the CDC attacked Streel prospectors, which is why they retaliated by destroying the CDC base.

Streel’s board of directors -- at Hio's request -- eventually forced Rewey out of office as the UPF dug deeper into the slaughter of CDC's people on Alcazzar.
Joe Cabadas

JCab747's picture
JCab747
March 29, 2016 - 7:58am
Revised:

James “Diamond Jim” Bradley


A polar opposite of Ruthless Rewey was his successor and corporate rival, “Diamond Jim” Bradley who was known as a boisterous, yet mostly fair man.

Born two decades before the Sathar invasion, Bradley grew up on New Pale where his family worked for the PGC on its massive corporate farms. Although he started as a PGC corporate researcher, the Sathar War interrupted his studies, which included an archaeological dig of a non-indigenous alien ruin on New Pale (this eventually turned out to be one of the Eorna’s lost colonies that had been destroyed by the worms 900 years before).

Bradley enlisted in the New Pale resistance and, though not much of a fighter, proved to be a born leader. After the war, he moved to Pale, joining the fledgling Streel Corporation, though he stayed in the Pale military reserves, eventually rising to the rank of colonel.

With a voracious appetite and a desire to show off his new-found wealth, his friends and enemies soon gave gun the nickname “Diamond Jim,” after an ancient Earth railroad executive. Although he was never a friend of Rewey or of Headow, he never crossed either one and may have even allied with them in corporate maneuvering against other executives.

Headow named him COO and vice chairman of the board, but four years into his posting, Bradley suddenly took ill and died.
Joe Cabadas

JCab747's picture
JCab747
March 29, 2016 - 8:55am
Revised:

When I started the original post, I had my own take on Hilo Headow, however, I am repurposing some of the information for a different character which is given below.

Joffa Himney (Yazarian, male)
Executive Vice President, Industrial Affairs

Born on Pale (Truane’s Star) shortly before the start of the First Sathar War, Joffa’s family was initially trapped on the planet during the Sathar invasion. After losing his siblings, Joffa’s parents sent him aboard a tramp freighter that was supposed to reach Prenglar. Instead, the ship was shot down over Laco (Dixon’s Star). On that harsh planet, Joffa fought with other Frontier colonists for survival amongst the Tetrarch ruins. He grew up as a scout/courier for the partisans.

After the war, he returned to Pale, but never found his parents. Instead, he was raised by other members of his clan. Pale was devastated from the invasion and occupation, but its colonists were determined to rebuild.

For years, the predecessor companies that formed Streel had been suppliers to the Pan-Galactic Corporation, which operated like the old railroad barons of American, paying as little as possible to its planetary suppliers but extracting a high price for the goods it provided – such as food from its corporate farms on New Pale. A series of strikes and other revolts against the “Pan-Galactic Way” started in the Truane’s Star system as the UPF formed. Many colonists on Pale and New Pale faulted the PGC’s previous corporate control for the Sathar’s successful assault.

Officially Streel began as an amalgamation of several Pale and New Pale companies and soon struck out to buy or merge with other companies across the Frontier with a “might makes right” corporate culture. Joffa’s adopted family were employed by Streel and he soon followed his stepparent’s footsteps, but got training at the newly rebuilt Capital University at Point True.

Working up the corporate ladder, Joffa was often called to expand Streel’s reach. Typically this meant hiring new sales people, developing new marketing strategies, but on the dark side, it’s been alleged that Joffa used brute force to intimidate other corporations through blackmail, terrorist-like tactics and bribery. He became an underling of Headow and was an intermediary to shady characters such as Yan-Soon Shea-Dow.

By the time of Laco’s War, Joffa was in charge of Streel’s “archelogical efforts” – i.e. plundering – the Tetrarch ruins on the planet. When the fighting broke out with the PGC, he led Streel’s efforts. After initial successes, Joffa was promoted to other activities, but his successor on Laco didn’t fair as well and Streel lost the corporate war.

Despite his alleged dark past, Joffa continued to advance, with a public persona of being a model Frontier business being. He gave to charitable causes, becoming personally involved with community projects and the like. But he was never one to be crossed. Other rivals within Streel found themselves shuffled off to meaningless jobs, forced to accept early retirement buyouts and even a few suffered mysterious deaths.

Sometime around the Second Sathar War, Headow made Joffa an executive vice president and put him in charge Industrial Affairs – a codename for Streel’s security apparatus that brutally suppresses any labor disputes.
Joe Cabadas

rattraveller's picture
rattraveller
March 29, 2016 - 5:19am
Interesting take on the Streel Corp. I would argue that it could be possible for an SF human to be in charge of a megacorp for 109 years. On the family lines forum we figured someone could graduate college even at age 30 and still be working 150 years later. Koch brothers for one example of CEOs who don't quit.

We did a little work on Hilo over at starfrontiers.us/node/7518 for comparison.
Sounds like a great job but where did you say we had to go?

JCab747's picture
JCab747
March 29, 2016 - 8:56am
rattraveller wrote:
Interesting take on the Streel Corp. I would argue that it could be possible for an SF human to be in charge of a megacorp for 109 years. On the family lines forum we figured someone could graduate college even at age 30 and still be working 150 years later. Koch brothers for one example of CEOs who don't quit.

We did a little work on Hilo over at starfrontiers.us/node/7518 for comparison.


Oh my. I missed that write up. That's not a bad take on Hilo... So, I have repurposed the earlier information in this  post.
Joe Cabadas

TerlObar's picture
TerlObar
March 29, 2016 - 7:55am
I have a slightly different take.  Since I don't really use the Zeb's time line, I have Hilo as the CEO at the time of the Second Sathar War and have him as the "founder" as well.

In my games, Streel Corp grew out of Streele Mining which had existed and was a major player on Pale before the Frist Sathar War, having been founded by Markus Streele some hundred years before and managed by his grandson at the time of the invasion of Pale.  At that time , Hilo was a mid-level manager working for Streele Mining in Point True.  He already had his "old boys club" of other managers that followed his lead and was not above using intimidation and bullying tactics to achieve results.  But only as much as the upper management would let him get away with.

Trapped on Pale by the invasion, and with the upper management of the company captured and/or killed, Hilo used his position and the company resources to provide aid to his division, others in the company, and the populace at large.  At least as much as he could without coming to the attention of the Sathar occupying force.  He also helped various resistance groups and was even involved in some of the actual resitance fighting toward the end of the occupation.  The organization he was building within the occupied city provided protection to those that did what he instructed and agreed to join his organization.  Those that resisted were left to fend for themselves.  At the same time, he used the resources he had access to to help those that were utterly helpless, thus endearing him and his organization to the general populace.

By the time the occupation was lifted, Hilo was the top dog in the remaining Streele hierarchy.  Over the next few years he consolidated that position and began integrating other interests acquired during the occupation and acquring others.  In F.Y. 2, he reincorporated the Streele Mining Corporation as Streel Corp to both reflect it's heritage and its new, more diversified nature.

Hilo, while a bit of bully and not afraid to use harsh tactics, is a shrewd businessman and Streel has continued to grow and prosper over the past 6-7 decades under his guidance.  After the war Hilo used the surviving resources and and goodwill of the Streel Corp to assist and accelerate the rebuilding and cleanup after the war.  Streel sponsored numerous public works and renovations that greatly assisted the rapid rebuilding of Point True and Pale in general.  This show of good faith was not lost on the population, many of which are still alive today.  Streel is still a major influence in the heart and minds of the people of Pale and deeply invovled in all aspects of life on the planet. 
Ad Astra Per Ardua!
Webmaster - The Star Frontiers Network & this site
Founding Editor - The Frontier Explorer Magazine
Managing Editor - The Star Frontiersman Magazine

JCab747's picture
JCab747
March 29, 2016 - 8:37am
That's a good take too.
Joe Cabadas

ChrisDonovan's picture
ChrisDonovan
March 29, 2016 - 10:47am
In my game, I've made Streel the major rival for the "2nd dog" spot below PGC in the corporate ladder with Weyland-Yutnai.  The two have something of a "cold war" thing going on because Streel (being the upstart) is challenging dominance by W-Y in its chosen niche (the slightly down-market or "budget option" supplier).  W-Y would like to see something nasty happen to Streel, but it won't risk calling undue attention to itself by taking a direct action.

KRingway's picture
KRingway
March 29, 2016 - 2:43pm
What role and powers do stockholders have, if there are any (it's not a given)? I ask as they have a certain amount of important power in corporations today.

Shadow Shack's picture
Shadow Shack
March 29, 2016 - 7:51pm
JCab747 wrote:
 Streel was first mentioned in the Mission to Alcazzar module and then in Knight Hawks

FWIW it's the other way around, first mentioned in the KH Campaign Manual/Warriors of White Light (printed in 1983) and a year later via the Alcazzar module.

I have fleshed out an early history of the company here: 

In my game I have essentially likened PGC to the American manufacturing model of the 1950s-1980s and Streel to Japan in that same time frame, with Streel (much like Japan) getting a later start and following the similar pattern of "reverse engineer & make improvements".

As far as the Streel/Clarion issue goes, I liken that to the occasional sneaky act Japan would throw at other markets, such as "dumping" motorcycles at below dealer wholesale prices on the US market (re: the Reagan tariff era 1983-1987 via petition by Harley Davidson), although I would say their weapon smuggling acts in Clarion were more of an individual upper management effort instead of a company effort.
I'm not overly fond of Zeb's Guide...nor do I have any qualms stating why. Tongue out

My SF website

JCab747's picture
JCab747
March 29, 2016 - 9:27pm
KRingway wrote:
What role and powers do stockholders have, if there are any (it's not a given)? I ask as they have a certain amount of important power in corporations today.

A very good question. It would depend upon how a company is structured. Now, I am not an economics professor or financial advisor, stockbroker, etc. but I know a little bit about this subject.

Very few large corporations are family-owned. Since I am more familiar with automotive firms, I'll pick on Ford Motor Company. The Ford family had exclusive ownership of the automaker from 1920 (when Henry Ford bought out his few other non-family stockholders) until his grandson, Henry Ford II, "took the company public" and listed its stock on the New York Stocke Exchange on Jan. 17, 1956.

That was done because the company needed more capital -- i.e. money -- for product development, building new plants, research and development...

The Ford family, however, wanted to retain a modicum of influence over the company Henry Ford had founded, so the company has a dual class stock structure. The public -- individual investors, brokers, institutions, etc. -- can purchase the common stock which allows them to elect 60 percent of the board of directors. The Ford family has "Class B" stock; although they have far fewer shares than common stockholders, the Class B stockholder has far more voting power per share. In the Ford family's case, they elect 40 percent of the board.

How does one get nominated to a board of directors?

A lot of times an individual is nominated by the chairman of the board or a subcommitee of the board. That person is presented to the stockholders (or their surrogates) who show up at a yearly stockholders meeting or who have sent their ballots in, and they are elected for a term of office. Very, very rarely are such candidates rejected since most stockholders seem aligned to voting for whomever is nominated or approving whatever public policies (very few are presented for a stockholders' vote) that the board approves of. Quite often, the stockholders will reject proposals that did not originate from the company hierarcy -- such proposals come from other stockholders, such as a special interest group that holds a minority of stock in the company.

Those who don't like how a company is being run, the lack of a dividend, or whatever would probably sell off their stock anyway.

Someone buying into a company, such as a large institution that buys a large amount of common stock will often get their voice heard by the board.

Another automotive example is General Motors Corporation circa 1910 and 1920. GM was cobbled together by an automotive pioneer named William Durant who had owned a very successful carriage-making business in Flint, Mich. He wanted to put together as many different automotive brands as he could to create an industrial powerhouse. His rational was that in those early days of the car industry, it was hard to see what mix of technology and brands would ultimately be successful.

And, Durant did see success when GM was founded in 1908, but then the economy came crashing down in 1910. The bankers who invested in GM started seeing huge losses and swooped in, pushed Durant off to the side (he officially became a GM vice president), and put their own people in charge of various parts of GM while selling off or liquidating "noncompetitive" brands, such as something called Cartercar or a division that made a mechanical "horse-like" tractor -- I think it was a tractor that the farmer would walk behind and it had wheels, not legs.

Some of the individuals brought into GM at that time would later go on to form their own companies such as Charlie Nash -- who would leave to create Nash Motors -- or Walter P. Chrysler who created Chrysler Corp. Nash and Chrysler created their companies by revamping other failing automakers.

Not content to sit on the sidelines, Durant went on to create a new set of automotive brands, including Chevrolet in 1911. That marque was named after a famed automotive racer, Louis Chevrolet. As the Chevy brand prospered, Durant and his allies began secretly buying up blocks of General Motors stock until he had half of the shares. When the bankers trust expired in 1915, Durant was "returned to the GM presidency, with the substantial backing of the DuPont company, whose executives took control of GM’s finances," according to the gmheritagecenter.com.

"From 1917 to 1920, Durant led a massive expansion of GM, including the acquisition of Chevrolet, 60% of Fisher Brothers body company, the formation of United Motors (led by Alfred P. Sloan, Jr.) and GMAC, the construction of the General Motors building (originally to have been named the Durant building) and production facilities. But a sudden, sharp downturn in auto sales in 1920 exposed Durant’s inadequate administration of what had become an enormous enterprise.

"Durant’s valiant effort to support falling GM stock during the slump put him deep in debt and GM on the verge of bankruptcy. The DuPont company rescued GM, and for a second time, Durant was out. He retained a substantial amount of GM stock, which if had held, would have been worth more than $25 million and have provided aggregated income of more than $27 million by the time of his death in 1947," concludes the GM distilled version of this early history.

So, now the short answer to KRingway's question, stockholders do have important powers and they would in the STar Frontiers setting... if you want to get into all that nitty-gritty. Hopefully my answers weren't too simplistic... or too long.

Joe Cabadas

JCab747's picture
JCab747
March 30, 2016 - 12:42am
Dear Shadow Shack:

Lots of nice tidbits with the "Adventures in History" topic. I've tried to search the Forums for relevant postings... but there is a lot of good stuff and I just haven't come across everything.
Joe Cabadas