Former US Surgeon General Pumped Up About Herbalife Ltd. (HLF)

Former US Surgeon General Pumped Up About Herbalife Ltd. (HLF)
By Herbalife International of America, Inc. ( [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons

As Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan’s office announced an investigation into Herbalife Ltd. (NYSE:HLF), joining the Department of Justice, Federal Trade Commission and New York Attorney General, former US Surgeon General Dr. Richard Carmona said that his only regret during his term of government service was not joining Herbalife earlier. The comments were made in a video, which Herbalife just posted on its new website, I am Herbalife.

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Not joining Herbalife while in government only regret for former US Surgeon General

Speaking to an Herbalife motivational sales meeting, Carmona called his meeting with Herbalife Chairman and CEO Michael Johnson “transformative,” saying he would have been more “successful” had he joined Herbalife while in public office.

“If I had known Herbalife when I was Surgeon General, it was the thing I lacked to connect with the people,” he said in a videotaped speech broadcast on YouTube. “It was the distribution network for health over the whole world that I could have been much more successful.  That (not joining Herbalife) was my only regret.”

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When the company announced Carmona’s appointment last October it did not mention how much he was being paid.

Mexican American audience

Speaking to a largely Mexican-American audience, Carmona evoked his heritage, regaling the audience with tales from his childhood growing up in a house that spoke “Spanglish,” which generated healthy applause.  Illinois Attorney General Madigan’s office said it had been contacted months ago by civil rights groups who claimed Herbalife was a pyramid scheme targeting minorities. The company denies the allegations.

“We look forward to working with the Illinois Attorney General’s office to resolve the consumer complaints it has received,” Herbalife said in a statement.

Motivational sales talk

“This isn’t a company just about a product,” Carmona said, breaking out in a boiler room speech to juice the sales team.  “This is a company about a culture, about a lifestyle.  This is a distribution network globally for public health.”  The company has been accused of utilizing high-energy sales pitches to build layer upon layer of sales recruitment channels that are not about the product, but about selling a dream.

Hedge fund manager William Ackman was the first to call Herbalife a fraud and placed a $1 billion bet against the company in 2012.

Full video embedded below

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Mark Melin is an alternative investment practitioner whose specialty is recognizing a trading program’s strategy and mapping it to a market environment and performance driver. He provides analysis of managed futures investment performance and commentary regarding related managed futures market environment. A portfolio and industry consultant, he was an adjunct instructor in managed futures at Northwestern University / Chicago and has written or edited three books, including High Performance Managed Futures (Wiley 2010) and The Chicago Board of Trade’s Handbook of Futures and Options (McGraw-Hill 2008). Mark was director of the managed futures division at Alaron Trading until they were acquired by Peregrine Financial Group in 2009, where he was a registered associated person (National Futures Association NFA ID#: 0348336). Mark has also worked as a Commodity Trading Advisor himself, trading a short volatility options portfolio across the yield curve, and was an independent consultant to various broker dealers and futures exchanges, including OneChicago, the single stock futures exchange, and the Chicago Board of Trade. He is also Editor, Opalesque Futures Intelligence and Editor, Opalesque Futures Strategies. - Contact: Mmelin(at)
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