Why politicians should read history
The modern paradox is that more people read more history than ever before ; that more media is devoted to history; and yet fewer politicians actually bother to look back to learn, rather than focusing on the present in order to be “relevant”. Even a cursory study of Britain’s relationship with 19th century Afghanistan (try William Dalyrymple’s “Return of a King” which I read after his brilliant lecture at the unique London Library) or early 20th century Iraq would have demonstrated the foolhardiness of the military adventures in both these countries. And when you next complain about the infrastructure in Rio de Janiero in advance of the World Cup or Mumbai, remember that mid 19th century London or Washington would have felt equally chaotic. If any politician claims not to have the necessary time to read a book (and support a local bookshop such as Lutyens and Rubinstein for good measure), I suggest that briefings from a mix of historians, cultural academics (try SOAS) and country risk specialists (Control Risks comes to mind) might do the trick.
Business lives in a state of permanent risk
In the aftermath of the collapse of Lehman Brothers, BP’s Gulf of Mexico disaster, Jimmy Savile, G4S’ Olympics fiasco and the News Corporation hacking scandal, do modern corporations exist in a state of permanent crisis management? And if so, how do you handle the risks inherent in the business to make sure not that things don’t go wrong (they always will) but that you manage a crisis, it does not manage you? Thoughtful commentators such as Will Lewis and Andrew Gowers and great managers such as John Neill of Unipart will tell you that the key lies in focus on the risks that, however implausible, would be terminal; and in recognition and not denial. Risk management will be one of the major issues and differentiating factors between corporations in this decade. One overlooked element may be the importance of the often derided No 2 to the Chief Executive – look out for advertising guru Richard Hytner’s new book “Consiglieri” out early 2014.
How to reach millennials
Any business that does not worry about how it reaches the one third of the world’s population that can be described as the millennials, has a future as bleak as the dodo. Millennials will soon represent the world’s most important purchasing power-house and cannot be assumed to revert to the media consumption patterns of previous generations. It matters not if you are a media company or a dairy business, an advertising agency or a retail outlet, this will be the greatest challenge which you will confront – social media, from Facebook to Twitter, is but the tip of the iceberg. In education, for example, Twig is using new platforms to change teaching around the world for the new generations. If you need further convincing, watch “In Real Life” coming soon to a cinema near you or Sky Atlantic in November.
Premier League chairman Anthony Fry visits Weston under Penyard.
THE chairman of the Premier League says that he is not surprised to hear that there are a number of successful businesses in the county after attending a business conference event near Ross-on-Wye. More...
I will not be alone in expressing huge admiration for the legions of women,
like Sheryl Sandberg and the FT’s own Gillian Tett, who manage to combine
brilliant careers with raising young children (“Interview”, FT Weekend
Magazine April 20/21) But whilst Sandberg may serve as an inspirational role
model for a new generation of college graduates, progress will have truly
been made on this issue when it is working women further down the pecking
order – a world away from corporate jets or the ability to take their
children on business trips – who are able to balance their work-life
balance. If more time was spent addressing life at the bottom of the food
chain, the top would sort itself out soon enough.
Anthony Fry to become Premier League’s new chairman
Anthony Fry, a banking veteran who has publicly defended the industry from its critics, is to switch to another highly-paid sector – as the new chairman of Premier League football.
Anthony Fry, a City stalwart, has worked at Rothschild Group and Lehman Brothers, where he was UK head of investment banking. He is currently chairman and senior adviser to the board of Espirito Santo Investment Bank.
He will take up his role at one of the world’s richest sports competitions from June 1.
Fry was nominated for the role by a committee of executives from top clubs including Chelsea, Stoke City and Manchester United, with the Premier League referring to him as a “keen spectator” of the latter club.
Fry may not have much previous experience in sports administration, but he has held senior roles in the media sector. Fry is currently chairman of the finance committee at the BBC Trust, the broadcaster’s governing body, a role he will relinquish, according to the Premier League. He is a former global head of the media business and European head of telecoms at Swiss investment bank Credit Suisse.
The Oxford University history graduate has also sat on the Appeals Board of the Panel on Takeovers and Mergers and was appointed by HM Treasury to serve on the appointments panel for the valuers for Northern Rock, Bradford & Bingley and Dunfermline Building Society.
In a statement, Fry said that he had a “deep-seated and long-held passion for sport”, and called the Premier League “one of the country’s great success stories of recent times having overseen a period of rising playing standards, substantial investment in infrastructure and development, [ and ] significant growth in attendances and viewing figures”.
The banker’s appointment marks a switch between two industries known, and often criticised, for their ability to pay large sums to retain top talent even in the depths of a recession – a subject which Fry has been unafraid to tackle in public.
Appearing at a debate hosted by Intelligence Squared on whether London should love its bankers, Fry launched a spirited defence of bankers’ value to the economy, arguing that tax bonuses from revenues ended up boosting London’s cultural institutions. However, he also referred to a “public relations problem” suffered by the industry – and called for a “long period of humility from the most senior bankers”.
In an August 2012 interview with Financial News, Fry also hinted at a strategy which could serve him well in the goldfish bowl of modern football.
“For me, a good culture should work along these lines: think about how you would feel if this episode or transaction ended up on the front of tomorrow’s newspapers. If you don’t feel great about it, don’t do it.”
The biggest potential loser from the premature death of Edward 1V in 1483
was his loyal brother, Richard of Gloucester. Subsequent events should brand
the man who became Richard III as neither saint nor sinner but political
pragmatist. He recognised the threat posed by the last credible Lancastrian
claimant to the throne, Henry Tudor. He knew that the Woodville clan
controlling the young Edward V were courtiers not soldiers. He acted in what
he perceived to be the best interests of the Yorkist cause. He believed that
one decisive battle was essential to secure the kingdom and prevent another
period of civil war : his subsequent miscalculation at Bosworth was, of
course, as personally disastrous as Harold’s at Hastings.
The sleeping giant
Sir: Barack Obama’s increasing focus on the Pacific and Asia (‘The Pacific
President’, 19 January) demonstrates clearly that, in the broad sweep of
history, it will be America’s foreign policy of the second half of the 20th
century that will be seen as the aberration. From the presidencies of
McKinley and Teddy Roosevelt, the overwhelming focus of America’s foreign
policy was the Pacific; FDR was pulled out of isolationism into the second
world war as a result of the hostile actions of Japan, not Germany. European
leaders had better get used to an idea that their 19th-century forebears
understood only too well — the sleeping giant on their doorstep is Russia.
‘Clash at the latest Oxford Union debate, where Wonga.com founder Errol Damelin argued “This House Would Occupy Wall Street” as Espirito Santo chief Anthony Fry clawed back the case for capitalism.’ Read more here
LONDON – “The BBC top brass faced a grilling by British government ministers Thursday over the former BBC director general George Entwistle’s £450,000 ($715,000) pay off and its payment structures for presenters and talent.” Read more here.
“Given that influential BBC trustee Anthony Fry is an enormous opera fan, the stage has been set for Royal Opera House chief executive Tony Hall to reprise his former BBC role all along. Drama is added to the latest twist in the corporation’s tale as Diary notes that Fry sits on the board of the English National Opera, the bitter rival to Hall’s Covent Garden institution.” Read more here.
House of Commons Public Accounts Committee on Thursday 22nd November
As reported in the Telegraph:
BBC defends £450,000 payout to former director-general George Entwistle. Read more here
and in the Guardian
Entwistle’s £450,000 payoff ‘in best interests of licence fee payers’ BBC Trustee Anthony Fry admits irritation over size of payoff but believes it was right judgment call. Read more here
The Financial Times
BBC Trust defends Entwistle pay-off. Read more here
BBC trustee Anthony Fry defends George Entwistle’s £450k payoff. Read more here
College enshrines primacy of states
From Mr Anthony Fry.
Sir, Anna Fifield is right (October 30) that the electoral college was a compromise by the founding fathers, but the crucial issue was that, while the plebiscite should be held nationally, the electoral college would enshrine the fundamental principle of the primacy of individual states and, most important, provide a protection for the smaller states.
Were it not for the electoral college, no candidate would bother visiting, say, New Hampshire during the campaign.
Whatever the carping of the critics, this fact alone will ensure that there will never be a constitutional amendment to abolish the electoral college, since it will never achieve the necessary approval of two-thirds of the states.
Anthony Fry, Espirito Santo, London EC4, UK
On October 19 1987, the Cityof London was hit by the cataclysmic event known as ‘Black Monday’. Just days after the ‘Great Storm of 1987’, when hurricane-force winds battered the South East, markets were sent into a tailspin by a stock market crash emanating from the Far East after falling stock prices in the US. Anthony Fry remembers: