Posts Tagged ‘Warren Buffett’

Ace GreenbergA little over a month ago, Wall Street lost a legend. Alan (Ace) Greenberg, who led Bear Stearns Cos. as CEO from 1978 to 1993 and served as chairman until 2001, passed away. Since his death there have been a multitude of tributes, all of them spelling out one nuance or another that made Greenberg so special. Together those tributes create a composite that illustrates Ace Greenberg’s unique brand. Now, as summer comes to an end, Bear Stearns alum Russell Sherman shares with Institutional Investor his thoughts on why that brand won’t fade any time soon.

I used to joke that Ace Greenberg probably saved five years’ worth of time over the course of his life because he never said hello or good-bye on a phone call. You would pick up and he would just start talking. And when he was done, there would be a click and silence. Unfortunately, on July 25 the proverbial phone went silent again. Ace died at the age of 86.

Despite his get-to-the-point demeanor, Ace was widely considered to be one of the most thoughtful and generous guys on the Street — and one of the most savvy.

These days CEOs and executives talk about the importance of building their brands. Who are they? What do they stand for? How can they share their thoughts with the world? But few executives had as good a brand as Ace Greenberg did, and he made it look easy.

Ace’s brand was multifaceted.

Read the rest of this entry »

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No Comments » Written on September 10th, 2014 by
Categories: From the News
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The Week Unpeeled

Amid a backdrop of ongoing investigations in motives and scope of the alleged Boston Marathon bombers and the NRA annual convention, the US economy showed ongoing signs of moderate growth with the jobs report showing the unemployment rate declining to 7.5 percent in April and non-farm payroll adding 165,000, better than expectations.  That news propelled the Dow to a record high, closing up 143 points on Friday at 14,973, briefly topping 15,000.

Elsewhere:

  • The disaster at a Bangladeshi apparel factory is forcing manufacturers to reconsider their productions and brand images tied to poor workplace safety conditions/records, with Disney already pulling out of the country; No doubt consumers will become a different type of label conscious as where clothes are made;
  • Warren Buffett hosted its annual investor hoopla, curious to see what he says about his recent buying spree in newspapers; Meanwhile, Berskhire’s profits jumped 51 percent;
  • While circulation has been on the decline for most US newspapers, circulation rose at The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times for the six months ended March 31, because of digital subscribers: WSJ held onto its rank as largest daily with average weekday circulation at 2.4 million and NYT at 1.9 million, with a Sunday total of 2.3 million;
  • JC Penney launched a big ad/digital campaign after its downfall and CEO shuffle, in a mea culpa of “It’s No Secret,” illustrating on some levels admit errors upfront;
  • Apple sold $17 billion in corporate bonds, the largest deal in history that was met with strong investor demand;
  • Making front-page headlines nearly everywhere, NBA player Jason Collins comes out as the first major league sports player (during Tony Awards announcements week, no less!); and
  • Favorite Orb wins the Kentucky Derby. End of Story
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Warren Buffett with the late Katharine Graham of the Washington Post at his 50th-birthday party in 1980. Image courtesy: Warren Buffett as seen on Fortune

Warren Buffett with the late Katharine Graham of the Washington Post at his 50th-birthday party in 1980. Image courtesy: Warren Buffett as seen on Fortune

The most recent issue of FORTUNE features an essay by Warren Buffett entitled, “Warren Buffett is bullish ... on women.”* In it, Mr. Buffett contributes his own thoughts to the recent dialogue taking place around women and work in the U.S., characterizing the unfortunate fact that barriers still remain.

Despite our track record as a nation, Mr. Buffett writes, “America has forged this success while utilizing, in large part, only half of the country's talent.”

Ultimately, Mr. Buffett’s FORTUNE essay issues a call to action not only to the men who continue to lead the majority of our corporations and occupy nearly all of the seats on our corporate boards, but also to those men who manage employees at any level.

Mr. Buffett states:

“No manager operates his or her plants at 80% efficiency when steps could be taken that would increase output. And no CEO wants male employees to be underutilized when improved training or working conditions would boost productivity. So take it one step further: If obvious benefits flow from helping the male component of the workforce achieve its potential, why in the world wouldn't you want to include its counterpart?”

While I don’t wholly agree with Mr. Buffett’s assessment on certain points (I’m sure he won’t lose any sleep over that), I did find his argument to be compelling. It also made me take a moment to look at the public relations profession in light of the argument that embracing the ascension of women to executive roles and directorships within companies, in addition to providing greater opportunity, mentorship and promotion of women through all levels of business makes business sense. Read the rest of this entry »

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The Week Unpeeled

The jobs picture turned a little sour last week with growth well below expectations because of a non-farm number at only 88,000 and an unemployment rate down to 7.6 percent in March, mostly because of folks leaving the workforce. That put a damper on the market, which has been on a tear.  The Dow ended pretty much unchanged for the week at 14,565, and other indicators were mixed, reflecting the divergent opinions on the direction of the economy and outlook for this rally.  In other markets, bonds continued to show signs of weakness with the closely watched “Agg” or Barclay’s US Aggregate Bond Index declining 0.12 percent in the first quarter, its first decline for that period (WSJ, Apr 3) in about seven years.

Elsewhere:

  • The SEC “blessed” the use of social media for corporate America to announce market-moving news (Warren Buffett’s BusinessWire opted not to “like” by objecting to the decision, no surprise really because it can make those dissemination services obsolete);
  • North Korea continued its bully tactics asking embassies to prepare evacuation plans;
  • Apple CEO Tim Cook used the apologia app and said sorry to China for certain customer service policies;
  • Facebook released what seems to be a super phone app called Home for Google’s Android operating system;
  • Developing signs of bird flu in China started to make headlines;
  • Roger Ebert, famed movie critic of thumbs up or down, died; and
  • Jay-Z, ever-morphing, this time into sports agentEnd of Story
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The Week Unpeeled

Well, the budget deadline passed and automatic sequester cuts were forced into place late last week, pushing “the nation’s economy into unchartered waters” (WSJ, Friday, March 1).  Even so, the Dow managed to end the week on a high note, with the blue-chip average climbing within striking distance of its all-time high, ending on Friday at 14,089 on Friday.

Elsewhere:

  • Warren Buffett released his highly read and folksy annual letter to shareholders calling his company’s $24 billion increase in net worth “subpar” (it did trail the S&P 500 by 200 basis points at 14% in 2012) and focusing a bit on his buying “spree” of newspapers, acquiring 28 dailies over the last 15 months;
  • Groupon fired its CEO with a “lead parachute” (CNBC) package of 378.36 (that is a correct number) after extremely disappointing quarterly results;
  • JP Morgan Chase is shedding 17,000 jobs by the end of next year;
  • Pope Benedict XVI hung up his Prada papal slippers and bid adieu;
  • All the Obit News Fit to Print:  In a New York Times obituary last week, an Israeli-born local resident said that he “loved his family, his birth and adopted countries, finance . . . Loved everything about NYC except The New York Times”:
  • Not yet an obit: The State of Michigan said it will appoint a financial manager to oversee Detroit in a tough turnaround assignment for a city $14 billion in debt; and
  • WTF on WFH: Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer put the kabosh on “working from home,” which was revealed in a leaked email message that got – no surprise – lots of media coverage, from bloggers who no doubt were.
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