Businessweek Archives

Talk Show


Up Front

TALK SHOW

"I believe, and the American people believe, that the use of force and the tragic loss of life was wrong."

--President Clinton, in a live telecast in China, describing the reaction to the 1989 Tiananmen Square protestsEDITED BY ROBERT McNATTReturn to top

OPENING AT THE FED: ECONOMISTS NEED NOT APPLY

SO YOU'RE NOT A MASTER OF THE INTRICACIES OF MONETARY POLICY? No problem. You still might qualify for a seat on the Federal Reserve Board. Given Chairman Alan Greenspan's deft handling of the economy, the White House sees no need to nominate yet another economist to the seven-member Board of Governors.

So the short list for the spot vacated by Susan Phillips includes those who fit the Administration's preference for a banker well-versed in the 1977 Community Reinvestment Act, a law meant to end "redlining," the bank practice of withholding loans from poor areas. Critics say the Fed hasn't done enough to enforce the act.

But whether the White House gets any takers is another question. It has already been turned down by one candidate, Carol Parry, who heads community affairs at Chase Manhattan. Now, the Administration is considering Mary Decker, head of First Chicago NBD's community-development efforts. Another candidate is Catherine Bessant, who holds a similar post at NationsBank. May the best woman win.Dean FoustReturn to top

AMERICAN AIRLINES LIGHTENS UP

FORMER AMERICAN AIRLINES CHIEF EXECUTIVE BOB CRANDALL was famous for his hot temper and poor relations with labor. Now, successor Don Carty is quietly trying to show that it's a new day at American.

A few weeks ago, the affable Canadian, who became CEO in May, dramatically improved some employee travel benefits, including low-cost passes for their families. Never mind that Crandall originally had slashed the perks with Carty's blessing. Employees say the change of heart was a needed morale-booster. That will help American as it faces union organizing efforts among its gate and reservation agents.

Also, Carty is canning a controversial local ad campaign that blasted a 1997 federal law allowing more flights at Dallas Love Field, eight miles from American's hub at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport. The company was afraid the change could ultimately weaken its hub. In billboards, bus placards, and mass-mailings, American urged politicians to "Leave Love alone." Now, it admits the high-profile campaign backfired, creating a "cry-baby" image for American.

Last, Carty will begin sending his execs to the Aspen Institute, a leadership- training outfit where the reading list includes Plato--and has little to do with the bottom line.Wendy ZellnerReturn to top

WHEN IN BEIJING, MUM'S THE WORD

IN A REMARKABLE MOMENT DURING HIS RECENT TRIP TO BEIJING, President Clinton openly criticized that nation's shoddy human rights record and extolled freedom of speech and political expression. Yet as he spoke, Prudential Relocation International, a cross-cultural executive-training firm, was telling its U.S clients in Beijing to shut up about politics during--and after--Clinton's visit.

In a bulletin issued before the China trip, Prudential, which works with the likes of Alcoa and AlliedSignal, told its U.S. clients in China: "Do not bring up sensitive political topics [or] discuss the U.S. Democratic Party accepting questionable donations from China or Chinese nationals. Do not discuss the transfer of U.S. space technology to China...the Tiananmen Square demonstrations, or the political implications of President Clinton's attending ceremonies there." Prudential Vice-President Noel Miner says such talk would seem disrespectful and "may make the Chinese question your knowledge of their business culture." Clinton's trip hasn't changed his mind, either. In other words, when talking any politics in China, the less said, the better.Marcia StepanekReturn to top


Hollywood Goes YouTube
LIMITED-TIME OFFER SUBSCRIBE NOW

(enter your email)
(enter up to 5 email addresses, separated by commas)

Max 250 characters

 
blog comments powered by Disqus