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Posted on on June 22nd, 2010
by Pincas Jawetz (

I am starting herewith to report about the Richard Attias new New York Forum about which we have already four articles, or mentions, in the last three weeks. the Forum opened today and is very promising indeed, as we expected – so – please do not take this first article from the Forum itself as a negative to this excellent enterprise. Please, one has to start somewhere, and in the nature of journalism as understood by Mr. Rupert Murdoch, the billionaire Chairman and CEO of the News Corporation, the owners of the Fox Chanel among other properties, is that you go for the sensationalism and start with writing about the worse first. So Mr. Murdoch, please see that I am a good learner and I will start by writing about you first.

Dear reader, please note that we do not throw out the baby with the dirty water – we merely throw out here he dirty water first.

Also please note that 500 Executives registered for the two days meeting – 60% from the US and 40% from abroad. Also present 120 people from the media – from many countries.


The 2010 New York Forum had two excellent introductory presentations by Mr. Richard Attias – one to the Media and the other to the Meeting’s Opening Plenary.

His two presentations were reinforced in the event for the Press by Mr. Richard I. Lesser, Chairman, North and South America, The Boston Consulting Group, and by the organizer of the Program, Mr. Lance Knobel who also led the following workshop (albeit – it was not the word they used).


OUR SPECIFIC EXAMPLE WAS  – REBUILDING TRUST IN FINANCIAL INSTITUTIONS – really, can you think of a more up-to-date subject theses days? Low and behold – we came up with many solutions, and the one our table dealt with made specially sense to me. But here I will leave you in suspense for a future posting.

How can you succeed engaging large numbers of people to rebuild trust in financial institutions by using a design thinking-based innovation methodology? The Design and innovation firm IDEO (obviously of Palo Alto)  led this interactive workshop to explore the issue of movement building and fundamental change in our financial institutions. Participants were introduced to the innovation practice of design thinking and then took part in activities focused on finding inspiration from real people rather than demographics or statistics.

Participants learned through a guided experiences on translating observations and insights into relevant ideas and design solutions to be able to use this methodology in their own challenges, beyond the specific case that the session covered.

This was facilitated by Doug Solomon, CTO, IDEO,  and Introduced by Lance Knobel, Director of the Program, The New York Forum.


After the Introductory remarks by Richard Attias, we finally reach the subject of this posting:


It said in the program: “Corporate and business leaders have always had to be agile and restless, rethinking their business models for survival as markets and technologies change. But the pace and pressures for change seem greater than ever. How do great leaders navigate through the uncertain terrain of today’s world? What are the key challenges that they face?”

The Moderator was Maria Bartiromo who is Anchor of the Business Program on CNBC.

From her original team she has lost Mort Zuckerman, Chairman and CEO, Boston Properties, and Publisher, New York Daily News, who for reasons unknown to me at this time was a no-show and he was replaced by: Mr. Philippe Camus, Chairman, Alcatel-Lucent, a global telecommunications corporation, headquartered in Paris.

We consider the above change very unfortunate, as it left Mr. Murdoch without any counter-balance on the program, and I am sorry to say that Maria Bartiromo did not stand up to his pressure. This program turned out rather about a discussion about business gripes and the raison d’etre of the event – REINVENTION – was forgotten in the process. But please do not despair. It was the excesses of Mr. Murdoch that eventually turned the event into a success, and it turns out that we had something to do with this.

The Other three members of the panel were:

Cathleen Black, President, Hearst Magazines
Rupert Murdoch, Chairman and CEO, News Corporation
Jerry Speyer, Chairman and CEO, Tishman Speyer

and as I am writing this late at night, please forgive me for focusing only on Mr. Murdoch.


So, my notes tell me that Rupert Murdoch addressed at least the following points:

1. Brazil, India are doing well, Europe is doing badly except Germany, in the Us we will have to grow in the next year at 1.5 trillion debt – this must change!

2. We must have less government and less taxation. Otherwise business will take off to Hong Kong and with them the jobs.
We will see a lot of change to the bad. At mid-term elections things could change. Today we have 20 million out of job. You can change this by having mass formation of small businesses.

3. We need innovation. We educate people and they leave. it is ridiculous to send people away.

4. In the country education is a disgrace. We turn out people illiterate in Spanish and English. You see the single mothers.
The teachers union did unbelievable things.

5. He is skeptic of Climate Change – it is caused by the activities of the sun – we cannot do it by ourselves.

6. A billion people in China moving away from farms and building a coal plant each day. We can talk of G2 as much as we want but we cannot do it alone. Oil and gas will be here for a long time and we will have clean gas.

7.  Alaska – two pipelines through Canada. We did not buy Alaska to save the moose.


I accept that a meeting like this should provide all points of view – but there is a limit to what a civilized stomach can take, and the comment about the moose did it for me – so I asked at the Q&A session directly from Mr. Rupert Murdoch something like:

Considering that you mentioned that the US did not buy Alaska for the moose, but as this meeting here is intended at the end to provide a missive to the G-20 in Toronto for the end of this week, what would be your advice to the G-20?

I got some more diatribe but no direct answer to my question. This caused me to ask a very short follow-up: “What do you understand by ‘clean gas’?” I got some more diatribe.


When the meeting broke, several people came over to congratulate me – this included a green investment gentleman from Senegal and an interviewer that taped me for the New York Observer. Then at coffee time and dinner some 50-60 people congratulated me and said they felt exactly like me. I ran out of cards in the process.

There were only two people with whom I spoke that were not happy with my question. There was the US representative of a French newspaper who thought that I should have addressed my question to the moderator and not to Mr. Murdoch, as he thought it took away the possibility from the others to address my question. (this is not really correct because Mr. Speyer did actually enter the question. The other was a Deputy Ambassador to the UN.

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