Atelier 15, article 10

© from New York Times Service :
(March 7, 2001)

                                  Treasury Chief to Keep $100 Million Alcoa Stake 

                                  NEW YORK Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill has decided to
                                  keep about $100 million in Alcoa stock and options, giving him
                                  perhaps the largest single-company holding that a top government
                                  official has ever held.

                                  Mr. O'Neill's decision, which was stated in a letter to a
                                  government ethics official in January and reiterated in a television
                                  interview Sunday, stands in contrast to moves by other
                                  government officials in recent years who diversified their
                                  investments upon taking office.

                                  On Monday, Vice President Dick Cheney said he would donate
                                  to charity the profits from his remaining stock options in
                                  Halliburton, the oil-services giant. Mr. O'Neill was chairman or
                                  chief executive of Alcoa, the large aluminum maker, from 1987
                                  until late last year.

                                  Mr. O'Neill has said he will recuse himself from all Treasury
                                  decisions concerning Alcoa. Appearing on an NBC News
                                  program, Mr. O'Neill said he had received clearance from
                                  government ethics experts to keep the shares.

                                  But some government and corporate analysts said that Mr.
                                  O'Neill's decision raised a host of potential problems. Alcoa, with
                                  $22.9 billion in revenue last year, sells its products around the
                                  world and is directly affected by many trade regulations. It also
                                  has many customers in highly regulated industries like aerospace
                                  and railroads.

                                  "It's an inherent conflict of interest," said Judith Fischer, publisher
                                  of Executive Compensation Reports, a newsletter. "It's also a

                                  Charles Lewis, executive director of the Center for Public
                                  Integrity, a nonpartisan research group in Washington, added,
                                  "Everyone at Treasury and everyone in the Bush administration will
                                  know 'Alcoa' is the Treasury secretary. That does raise some