If that's the case, he is the CEO of a fast-food restaurant that serves more than 2 million daily.
The governor as chief executive is a politically popular analogy, one that helped get Huntsman elected and still resonates as a handy public relations device.
Public opinion about the governor is still gelling. After all, he has been in office less than three months. But his corporate image has become less appealing to state employees, the minority community and the news media.
Critics say his efforts to insulate himself in a corporate cocoon in his Capitol Hill office have led to his most embarrassing missteps.
Huntsman is willing to let skeptics take their jabs. He believes the results of his businessman-does-government-time will eventually silence them.
"We do talk a lot in corporate terms - about responsive management, returns on an investment," said Chief of Staff Jason Chaffetz, a former executive and spokesman for Nu Skin. "There needs to be a freshness that's brought to government. We have a plan. We're going to execute it. It's all about becoming more effective. It's going quite well."
That's up for debate.
Even before Huntsman was sworn in early in January, his closest advisers took the first steps to fire 33 Department of Community and Economic Development workers. Huntsman never met with the employees or the board that oversees economic development efforts. He sent Chaffetz in his place. While the workers cleaned out their desks, Huntsman and his staff went to a fund-raising ball.
Despite taking flak over the mass firings, the governor forged on with his plan. Like a chief executive, he insulated himself during the 2005 Legislature, only rarely venturing into public for a few press conferences and brief interviews with reporters.
He quietly signed controversial legislation - one bill that will end a generous state employee retirement benefit and another to void driver licenses to illegal immigrants - without meeting with minority leaders or representatives of the state workers' union.
Finally last week, Huntsman asked State Commerce Director Russell Skousen to fire Roger Ball, director of the Utah Committee of Consumer Services. That night, after Ball was given 30 minutes to clean out his desk and was escorted from the building, the governor played keyboards in a cover of "Blue Suede Shoes" at a Salt Lake Chamber party to honor his father as a "Giant in Our City."
Huntsman characterizes his style as part-diplomat/part-businessman. While the changes he has made might seem abrupt, Utah residents will appreciate the return on their investment in him, he says.
"It isn't cold and it isn't clinical," he said. "It is more of a bottom-line, results orientation. It's often criticized. But we have new goals and objectives - new priorities."
Brigham Young University political science professor Kelly Patterson says Huntsman takes a risk with his corporate approach to the governor's job. While Huntsman is popular now, his businesslike manner could eventually turn off voters.
"People like to think that executives are effective and efficient. But too much effectiveness and too much efficiency can get you branded as cold and heartless. Publicly elected executives can't afford that," Patterson said. "Constituents aren't shareholders. They have to like you, to connect with you. Shareholders want a return at the end of the quarter."
So far, Patterson says, Huntsman has been successful casting himself as a charming man of the people, delivering his State of the State speech in Fillmore, chatting about his love of junk food and Irish rock band U2 and jamming on-stage with Salt Lake City Mayor Rocky Anderson and former gubernatorial candidate Fred Lampropoulos.
One of the fired DCED employees, however, says Huntsman's administration is sinister. While Chaffetz talked to workers being axed, two troopers stood guard and their computer access was cut off.
"They treated us like criminals," said the employee. "At least get to know my name, my face, evaluate my work.
"They didn't bother," said the man, who asked not to be identified out of fear it could hurt his search for a new job. "Huntsman's strictly a corporate guy, from his buttoned-down collars to his parsed words to his actions."
Huntsman and his staff say the DCED meeting and Ball's ouster followed accepted management practices. The governor insists he didn't "fire" anyone. Political appointees' resignations simply were accepted. Huntsman says he has limited himself to eight years in office and his appointees would be wise to do the same.
While former state Human Resources Director Karen Suzuki-Okabe defends Huntsman's prerogative to bring in his own people as he chooses, she said she has never seen state firings go quite the way the new governor's did. "He's within his rights to do this. But it's not been done this way before," said Suzuki-Okabe, now Salt Lake County deputy mayor.
Huntsman's corporate-like insulation from the public has frustrated minority advocates, representatives of state employees and reporters alike.
The governor's Hispanic Advisory Council wrote to Huntsman urging him to hold off on signing the driver-license bill. The letter was discovered later in a "to read" pile on the governor's desk. A spokeswoman said she couldn't vouch that Huntsman had read it before signing the measure into law.
Council member Mark Wheatley, a Democratic state lawmaker, said this week he was "disappointed" by how quickly Huntsman acted on the bill.
Utah Public Employees Association director Audry Wood said she has been trying to meet with the governor or his staff since they came into office. She particularly wanted, but did not get, a meeting before he signed the sick-leave bill. "We've always been able to meet with the governor," Wood said. "But we have never been contacted by Gov. Huntsman or his office."
Some reporters have been equally frustrated by the wall Huntsman's staff has formed around him. While the governor granted 15-minute scheduled interviews to reporters during the 2005 Legislature, he repeatedly turned down requests for a free-form news conference. At times, the governor's staff has told reporters which questions they can ask. And at his signing of the Carson Smith Special Needs Scholarship bill, spokeswoman Tammy Kikuchi blocked a Salt Lake Tribune reporter from talking to the governor.
Kikuchi points to Huntsman's monthly, half-hour news conference on KUED, his hour-long commitment to the "Let Me Speak to the Governor" call-in show on KSL Radio and his frequent 15-minute interviews with reporters. She says the governor prefers shorter, face-to-face interviews. "In 15 minutes, you should be able to get a story," she said.
But KUER Radio host Doug Fabrizio has been frustrated in his attempts to get Huntsman to agree to an hour-long radio interview. Fabrizio says he simply wants to do an on-air "profile" of the governor, something that can't be done in 15 minutes.
"I don't understand why he won't," Fabrizio said. "He's articulate. He's an experienced man. He can handle a conversation that lasts for more than 15 minutes.
"We had amazing access to Gov. Walker. We had great access to Gov. [Mike] Leavitt," he added. "I've never had this problem."
Examples of corporate management style
* Firing 33 economic development employees in one swift action
* Firing utility consumer representative with 30 minutes' notice
* Refusing to meet with state employee union association
* Tightly controlling news media access and exposure
* Continued from A1