Hunt Scanlon Media said on 11.11.2022 that: “The Christopher Group recently recruited Case McGee as chief people officer [CPO] of Clayton Homes Building Group (CHGB), the largest builder of manufactured housing and modular homes in the U.S. and a Berkshire Hathaway company. “This was one of the more difficult and rewarding searches that we have completed in recent memory,” said Nat Schiffer, managing director, who conducted the assignment with Tobin Anselmi, managing partner. “Clayton Homes has such an incredibly successful and defined culture. They are a legendary employment brand in the region and beyond. They do not often recruit from the outside, especially for C-suite roles, and therefore finding the right fit was 80 percent-plus of the challenge in executing the search. Dr. Anselmi and I interviewed scores of candidates that were technically capable of doing the job – but finding the right chemical profile to successfully assimilate into the Clayton professional family was the real trick. This is another example of our ability to meet the needs of the most discerning clients where the stakes of a failed hire could not be greater,” he added.
If this sounds like the type of place you or someone you know may want to get a job, or buy a home from, then please read on.
But first, to round out this fact-packed editorial examination of what Hunt Scanlan said, one should consider their earlier and longer post. It was also about Clayton Homes and their then new CPO Case Mcgee.
Earlier in 2022, Hunt Scanlan Media said: “The Christopher Group Recruits Chief People Officer for Clayton Homes Building Group
In one of the firm’s toughest but most rewarding searches, this HR recruiting specialist placed Case McGee with the largest builder of manufactured housing and modular homes in the U.S. The company’s new chief people officer worked more than 23 years for ADM, most recently as vice president of human resources. Let’s kick off the new year and go inside the search!
– The Christopher Group (TCG), a boutique HR executive search and business solutions recruiting firm, has placed Case McGee as chief people officer of Clayton Homes Building Group (CHGB), the largest builder of manufactured housing and modular homes in the U.S. The search was led by founder and CEO Tom Christopher and managing directors Nat Schiffer and Tobin Anselmi.
“This was one of the more difficult and rewarding searches that we have completed in recent memory,” said Mr. Schiffer. “Clayton Homes has such an incredibly successful and defined culture. They are a legendary employment brand in the region and beyond. They do not often recruit from the outside, especially for C-suite roles, and therefore finding the right fit was 80 percent-plus of the challenge in executing the search. Dr. Anselmi and I interviewed scores of candidates that were technically capable of doing the job – but finding the right chemical profile to successfully assimilate into the Clayton professional family was the real trick. This is another example of our ability to meet the needs of the most discerning clients where the stakes of a failed hire could not be greater,” he added.
Mr. McGee worked for more than 23 years at multinational food processing and commodities trading corporation ADM, where he held a variety of roles such as the vice president of talent and organizational effectiveness, head of organizational change management and most recently vice president of HR.
“It is a privilege to join Clayton Homes with its distinguished history of success. I am excited to put my experiences to work in support of the company’s growth plans,” said Mr. McGee. “The Christopher Group is highly effective in the executive HR search space. They understand the importance of being a great partner to both the client and prospective candidates. From having worked with them as a candidate, it’s no surprise that they are continually recognized for their performance.”
In his new role, Mr. McGee will be responsible for providing human capital leadership to align CHBG’s strategic priorities with the necessary people capabilities to deliver on the business objectives and desired culture. As a member of the executive leadership team, Mr. McGee will develop strategies and tactics across areas including DE&I, talent acquisition and management, succession planning, organizational development, training, performance management, and total rewards and benefits.
Headquartered in Maryville, TN, Clayton Homes describes itself as committed to “opening doors to a better life and building happiness through homeownership.” It is the largest builder of manufactured and modular homes in the U.S. and owned by Warren Buffet’s Berkshire Hathaway company.” ##
A Key Part of What Kevin Clayton Said About Clayton Homes’ – A Warren Buffett led Berkshire Hathaway Company’s – Culture and Philosophy
This news video is from a Knoxville metro television station. It will begin to tee up the issues surrounding Clayton Homes and their affiliated lending.
From a video interview of Kevin Clayton, from a Berkshire Hathaway friendly source, that video is complete with a transcript and additional facts, evidence, and commentary. From that video transcript of Kevin Clayton are his following remarks.
“We have some good competitors. I mean, everybody’s trying to carve out their niche, and Warren is very competitive. It’s just amazing, his personality, to be such a genius. He’s also the greatest leader I have ever worked for, the greatest people skills, but again, he paints such an image in each of our manager’s minds about this moat, this competitive moat, and our job is very simple and we share this. It’s so fun sharing some of the things that he passes along throughout our organization, and we challenge every one of our team members, every department. Who is your customer? Deepen and widen your moat to keep out the competition, whether it’s the next department over. How can you serve them better?
But some of our competitors do a good job, but our plans are to make that difficult for them.”
Clayton is describing a key philosophical or ‘cultural’ underpinning of their brand. For emphasis, Kevin said: “It’s so fun sharing some of the things that he [Warren Buffett] passes along throughout our organization, and we challenge every one of our team members, every department. Who is your customer? Deepen and widen your moat to keep out the competition…”
That is perhaps near the top of the more important revelations made by Kevin about Clayton Homes, Warren Buffett and Berkshire Hathaway in general. In case someone thinks that remarks about being tough on competitors and what this “moat” may be mere hyperbole or a metaphor for emphasis, let’s start with what Warren Buffett himself said on that topic.
According to U.S. News and World Report, Warren Buffett said: “The most important thing for me is figuring out [that Berkshire Hathaway is considering buying]. What I would .” Note that allusion by Buffett to man eating amphibians? This is hardly a ‘friendly’ business model that is being described.
The “moat” or ‘a castle and the moat’ are important to understanding what has been occurring in manufactured housing since Buffett led Berkshire Hathaway made its first obvious play into manufactured housing in 2002. In 2003, Berkshire acquired Kevin Clayton led Clayton Homes. These are not matters of mere speculation, because direct quotes from Clayton and Buffett make it plain just how important the moat principle is for their business model and thus their ‘corporate culture.’
There is fine talk about ethics at Berkshire brands.
But it was not so long ago that Berkshire, Clayton Homes, and Warren Buffett were named by major media outlets and figures for their troubling business tactics. So long as a good bit of the media acts as de facto cover for Buffett and his brands behavior – which can occur due to the influence of Berkshire’s advertising dollars, capital access, or others concerns – there can appear to be an aura of folksy goodness to this self-declared atheist.
DOJ-CFPB-Record Racial Discrimination-Redlining Case Settled by Warren Buffett-Led Berkshire Hathaway Owned Lender – Clayton Homes and Their Affiliated Lending Named by Seattle Times – Conventional and Manufactured Housing Claims
While the nation is divided on moral issues such abortion, Buffett has used his nonprofit arms and other influences for decades to lead the charge for abortion in the U.S.
Maxwell Trial Judge, Jury Verdict Expose Legal Risk “Turning a Blind Eye” – Manufactured Housing Corporate, Assoc, Trade Media, Consumer Alerts – Trial “New Legal Standard for Willful Ignorance” – Facts & Analysis
So, while Buffett talks about ethics, there are those who say that it is not Buffett’s words that ought to be the focus of attention, but rather, the attention needs to go to the actual behavior of Buffett and his ‘moat’ building and widening brands’ corporate behavior.
It is members of Clayton Homes own team that has ripped the company for the truth about its company culture.
Then, there are legal issues with respect to Clayton Homes that have been the focus of litigation and investigations.
Some of those issues relate to antitrust concerns.
While Clayton touts its ‘high’ referral scores, a closer look reveals something quite different. For instance, if Clayton’s customer satisfaction was truly as impressive as they try to imply, then why isn’t Clayton Homes selling hundreds of thousands of manufactured homes after being owned by Berkshire Hathaway for approaching two decades?
Then, there is the direct evidence of these business ethics and ‘corporate culture’ matters from customer videos through sources such as the videos from self-identified Clayton Homes customers.
Then there is the viral video and related report from HBO’s Last Week Tonight with John Oliver which names Buffett, Clayton Homes, and other Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) members. The report after the video unpacks the connections to Clayton and other MHI member brands.
HBO’s John Oliver on Last Week Tonight Mobile Homes Video, Manufactured Home Communities Fact Check
That’s not to imply that every Clayton customer is unhappy, or that every Clayton person is unethical, etc. But the governing mantra of Clayton is an unethical if not illegal moat tactics. Even longtime Buffett and Berkshire advocates have ripped Clayton Homes for their business tactics.
In doing so, they may point the finger at the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI). MHI is said to be little more than a de facto arm of Clayton and allied dominating brands in the manufactured housing industry (a.k.a. “MHVille”) who aim to consolidate the industry into ever fewer hands.
Democratic Joe Biden’s White House Fact Sheet on the problems caused by industry consolidation spell out why this kind of concentrated power harms consumers (fewer choices, sometimes higher costs and lower quality service), the employees of big brands with lower wages than if more competition for labor existed, innovation in a sector such as housing, and thwarting the creation of more competitors.
Those items outlined by the Biden White House happen to align with many of the concerns raised by James A. Jim Schmitz Jr and his research colleagues. Schmitz is a professor in Minnesota and also does work for the Minneapolis Federal Reserve.
While Schmitz doesn’t name Buffett, Berkshire, or Clayton, he did say recently to a class of university students that there is evidence of monopoly power (i.e.: the oligopoly style of monopoly power, see his PowerPoint and the related report for details) within manufactured housing
After researching the manufactured home industry, Samuel “Sam” Strommen with Knudson Law took pointed aim at Clayton and Buffett, both by name. Note that Strommen also praised in a footnote MHProNews/MHLivingNews for our ground-breaking research into these areas. Several of Strommen’s footnotes cite one of our trade media platforms.
Ironically, at times, Clayton and fellow Berkshire brand leader Tim Williams with 21st Mortgage Corporation makes a remark that points to their own apparent violations of antitrust laws and market manipulation tactics.
Donations and nonprofits have been used to give the illusion of goodness to Buffett and his brands. But when the facts are carefully examined, while certain individuals may benefit, his nonprofits and that of others like his tend to do little overall to change the problems they claim to want to solve. Who says? His own son, Peter Buffett, among others.
A pro-Buffett and pro-moat method author, Bud Labitan, specifically devotes a chapter in his book to Clayton Homes and their related lending.
When asked by MHProNews/MHLivingNews about such concerns associated with Clayton Homes, Buffett board member and attorney Ron Olson declined comment.
“Machine of Human Suffering”-Berkshire Hathaway’s Clayton Homes, Manufactured Housing Institute Attorneys Response to Allegations “Felony” Abuses – Knudson Law Legal Report by Sam Strommen
For more insights on Clayton’s legal side, consider the facts, evidence, and expert editorial commentary about Tom Hodges, J.D., Clayton Homes general counsel and MHI’s prior chairman of the board.
One simply cannot understand the stark realities of why manufactured housing is underperforming during an affordable housing crisis without firmly grasping these issues of business ethics, the Buffett-Clayton preached moat ‘culture,’ and the insights that only emerge when sufficient time is invested in studying these issues.
Close longtime financial and nonprofit ally William “Bill” Gates III had this to say about Buffett, per CNBC.
There is much more.
But this collection of linked articles, reports, and expert editorial commentary in this post – plus others found on our sites – constitute what is apparently the largest known collection anywhere online for information about Clayton Homes, their realities behind their “moat” corporate culture, and how this plays out with consumers, competitors, nonprofits, politics, and beyond.
Even the story of how Clayton Homes came to be purchased by Buffett may be an illusion, according to the Fast Company version of the acquisition event.
Going back to Kevin Clayton’s version of things, he too admitted on camera that the buyout was an ugly and arduous legal process. See how he described that in his own words, linked here. You can watch the video and see Kevin say it himself.
This article began by noting how Hunt Scanlon Media touted the Clayton culture in the context of “The Christopher Group recently” recruiting Case McGee for Clayton Homes. McGee comes from ADM, which is Archer Daniel Midland. ADM has its own “moat,” though Hunt Scanlon Media didn’t mention it.
ADM has its own history of ‘moat’ style behavior and legal issues too. The screen captures on this date of the Google searches linked here reflects some of the legal concerns and regulatory history.
One might never know these things based solely on the glowing article by Hunt Scanlon Media about the Clayton Homes culture in the context of their recruiting Case McGee for the Berkshire owned firm’s chief people officer (CPO). This is an example of why one source of information is rarely enough to get an objective view of an issue. Their report might be dubbed an example of “faked news” that provides paltering, spin, and posturing because the truth might be embarrassing to several or even all involved.
MHLivingNews would like to end on a more positive note when possible.
There is an apparent pattern shown that ought to lead to possible antitrust, RICO, SEC, Hobbs Act and other related probes and appropriate legal action needed to clean such swampy messes up. The irony of the moat is that once it is understood, the possible way to breach that moat is through factual, evidence-based reports – like this one – and then using those facts legally to address the mess.
Shopping for a new job or for a new manufactured home? IMHO, think twice before doing business with a Berkshire owned brand, including Clayton Homes, 21st Mortgage Corporation, and Vanderbilt Mortgage and Finance (VMF).
There are companies that do manufactured homes correctly. The homes are third-party inspected. The question boils down to how companies treat their employees, customers, and competitors.
See the linked reports to learn more about the truth, facts, and evidence regarding “legendary” Clayton Homes and their ‘company culture’ – which is built around the moat.
As a closing thought, this roughly 3100-word report on Clayton, Buffett, and Berkshire is just the tip of the iceberg. There are pages of reports on our sites that can be found on these topics, just use the search tool to learn more. ###
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That’s a wrap on this installment of “News through the lens of manufactured homes and factory-built housing” © where “We Provide, You Decide.” © ## (Affordable housing, manufactured homes, reports, fact-checks, analysis, and commentary. Third-party images or content are provided under fair use guidelines for media.) (See Related Reports, further below. Text/image boxes often are hot-linked to other reports that can be access by clicking on them.)
All on Capitol Hill were welcoming and interested in the discussion of manufactured housing-related issues in our 12.3.2019 meetings. But Texas Congressman Al Green’s office was tremendous in their hospitality. Our son’s hand is on a package that included a copy of the Constitution of the United States and other goodies. MHProNews has worked with people and politicos across the left-right divide.
By L.A. “Tony” Kovach – for MHLivingNews.com.
Tony earned a journalism scholarship and earned numerous awards in history and in manufactured housing. For example, he earned the prestigious Lottinville Award in history from the University of Oklahoma, where he studied history and business management. He’s a managing member and co-founder of LifeStyle Factory Homes, LLC, the parent company to MHProNews, and MHLivingNews.com. This article reflects the LLC’s and/or the writer’s position, and may or may not reflect the views of sponsors or supporters.
Connect on LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/in/latonykovach
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The text/image boxes below are linked to other reports, which can be accessed by clicking on them.
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