Businessweek Archives

Talk Show


Up Front

TALK SHOW

"I'd give anything in the world not to have to admit what I've had to admit today."

---President Clinton, in videotaped grand jury testimonyEDITED BY JOAN OLECKReturn to top

A FUND MANAGER SKATES ON THIN ICE

ABOUT THE LAST THING THAT MUTUAL-FUND DIRECTORS ARE KNOWN FOR is dealing swiftly with laggard money managers. So the news that Vanguard Group's trustees were upset over the performance of portfolio manager Charles Freeman's $20.7 billion Vanguard Windsor Fund came as a shock--even in the face of the fund's 11.3% decline this year through Sept. 22. (Windsor is distinct from Windsor II, up 1.8%.)

Come to learn, though, that 5 of Vanguard's 10 trustees have good reason to be concerned: Together, the group holds an unusually large stake in the venerable fund, more than 545,000 shares, according to Windsor's most recent proxy statement. Vanguard Senior Chairman John Bogle reported direct holdings worth $2.2 million at today's prices, while CEO John Brennan held even more: $2.8 million. And Princeton's Burton Malkiel, author of A Random Walk Down Wall Street, was down for $1.9 million.

Altogether, the trustees' Windsor stake began 1998 with a value of $9.3 million. Now, it's closer to $8.2 million--a $1.1 million message to Freeman to get his act together. Vanguard, however, says it has no plans to dump Freeman anytime soon.EDITED BY JOAN OLECKReturn to top

Return to top

THIS COFFEE IS FOR THE BIRDS

WAKE UP, COFFEE DRINKERS, and think birds with your morning brew. The National Audubon Society has dubbed October "shade-grown coffee month" to publicize the plight of 150 migratory bird species losing their habitats to coffee plantations.

Latin America's megafarms are clearing the shaded terrain where coffee traditionally has been grown--and chasing away 90% of the bird species. So how do caffeine addicts show support? The society suggests Cafe Audubon, a brew imported by EcoOrganic Coffee of San Diego. Under Smithsonian Institution guidelines, the $11-a-pound brand is certified as organic and shade grown.

But it's a slog getting attention. "We are up against the Starbucks of the world," says Audubon's Sarah Comis. (A Starbucks spokesman says it uses shade-grown beans but is not part of the Audubon program.) EcoOrganic expects more retail access once it teams with distributor Boyd Coffee of Portland, Ore., in November. Early birds, human and avian, may tweet louder at the news.EDITED BY JOAN OLECKReturn to top

TWO B-SCHOOLS' PASSAGE TO INDIA

WHARTON SCHOOL AND NORTHWESTERN'S J.L. KELLOGG GRADUATE SCHOOL OF MANAGEMENT are normally fierce rivals. But the two B-schools are comfortable traveling buddies: Witness their working together for 14 years to develop the Sasin Graduate Institute of Business Administration in Bangkok. Now, the two parents have a second offspring: the Indian School of Business (ISB) in Hyderabad, due to open in 2000.

The school's godfather--Rajat Gupta, managing director of McKinsey & Co.--took the idea to 10 elite B-schools. Wharton and Kellogg, Gupta says, were the "best fit." And 200 U.S.-based teachers of Indian origin hope to teach at ISB. International donors will fund its $100 million campus. Why India? First, there's the need evidenced by so many Indian MBAs. Second, "we're building a school not just for India but for the world," says Gupta. And, from Kellogg Dean Donald Jacobs: India "has a large, rapidly growing economy, and it should have a world-class B-school." What about friction? "Yes, Kellogg and Wharton are competitive," says Jacobs. "That doesn't mean that we can't cooperate."EDITED BY JOAN OLECKReturn to top


Monsanto vs. GMO Haters
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