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Ex-Bain executive: Romney was 'legally' CEO after 1999, but effectively replaced with committee

During the three years when Mitt Romney was allegedly not running Bain Capital, he was replaced with a transitional "management committee," says former Bain Man

During the three years when Mitt Romney was allegedly not running Bain Capital, he was replaced with a transitional "management committee," says former Bain Managing Director Edward Conard, appearing to contradict what a senior Romney adviser told CNN on the same day.

"It was a management committee running Bain, to try to transition from Mitt to a new structure," Conard said on Sunday's Up with Chris Hayes. He told show host Chris Hayes that the process took three years, from 1999 to 2002, because of pay negotiations and restructuring.

UPDATE: On the same day, on CNN's State of the Union, senior Romney campaign adviser Ed Gillespie said that Romney had "retired retroactively."

"He took a left of absence and in fact he ended up not going back at all, and retired retroactively to 1999 as a result," he said. His claim that Romney was originally only on a leave of absence seemingly contradicts Conard's assertion that, shortly after Romney's exit, they began negotiating "the terms of Mitt's departure."

"It took several years for us to sort out how to put the management team in place—there was a management team in place already—but for example we had to negotiate with Mitt because he was an owner of the firm, he'd created a lot of franchise value, and we were going to pay him for that," said Conard. "We had to recognize that other partners would leave, senior partners would leave over time; that whatever we did for him was going to be reflected in what we did for everyone else who left the firm. And we had a very complicated set of negotiations that took us about two years to unwind."

Last week, the Boston Globe reported on SEC filings that showed Mitt Romney as the CEO, president, chairman, and sole owner of Bain Capital for three years after he allegedly left the private equity firm to run the Salt Lake City Winter Olympics. Romney had previously argued that he was not responsible for Bain's outsourcing of American jobs during that period, because he was no longer at the firm and had no role in its decision-making process.

Conard essentially backed up Romney's version of events. While he conceded that the Republican presidential candidate had remained "legally, on documents," the head of Bain, he added that "Mitt was gone" from any leadership role in the company.

"It was ten years ago, so can I remember every single meeting? No," Conard said. "But I remember that Mitt was gone. We had a management team that was working hard to manage the company. We had to negotiate the terms of Mitt's departure, and in fact everybody's departure at that time, and it was difficult to get any time for Mitt to even get him and his attorneys to do that, because he was so busy working on the Olympics."

Conard is the author of the recent book, Unintended Consequences: Why Everything You've Been Told About the Economy is Wrong.