It started out innocently enough. At the end of Thursday morning's panel discussion, moderator Dave Cole asks the panelists what thoughts concerned them most when they went to bed at night.

Ford's Louise Goeser says she worries about being able to fully explain the significance of Six Sigma quality control methods. JATCO's Kenichi Sasaki says he worries about selling automatic transmissions to an industry increasingly interested in fuel-cell-powered electric cars.

But when it comes time for ExxonMobil's Bill Innes to speak, he starts out by saying, "I do go to bed excited every night." As the double entendre sinks in, the audience starts chuckling like a pack of high-schoolers.

At that point Mr. Cole decides to have some fun and says to GM's Larry Burns: "What excites you before you go to bed at night?" Then Mr. Burns, an incorrigible jokester, looks at Mr. Innes sitting next to him and says "Bill," and brings down the house.

Walking out, Mr. Innes is overheard remarking to a friend "Wait until my wife hears about this."