At the helm

A company can be headquartered in the middle of a desert, with the only water in sight being in a swimming pool, but its CEO is inevitably at its helm. This exciting journalese is rarely used when the company sails on the rocks, faces a shareholder mutiny, washes down the scuppers, or just plain sinks. Nor is a poor performing company explained by the fact that the CEO doesn’t know the helm from the head. Boston Business Journal had this headline Jan 3, 2017: “After 17 years at the helm of the country‚Äôs largest craft brewer, Boston Beer President and CEO Martin Roper has announced he will retire in 2018.” The Journal could have at least written that Roper was at the main tap, or at the control switch of “the craft-beer powerhouse,” as the Journal later in the story described the company.

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