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Matthew Grauso appointed as general manager of the Renaissance Honolulu Hotel & Spa at Sky Ala Moana

"Matt is the perfect person to lead the team as we prepare for this exciting opening,” Kelly Sanders, executive vice president of operations for Highgate, said in a statement......»»

Category: topSource: bizjournalsJan 25th, 2023

Queen Kapiolani Hotel names Jak Hu as new general manager

Queen Kapiolani Hotel, Waikiki Beach has appointed Jak Hu as its new general manager. A veteran of the hotel industry in the Islands, Hu brings decades of experience to the position. He previously was area director and general manager at Marriott Cou.....»»

Category: topSource: bizjournalsAug 27th, 2019

Four Seasons Maui names new general manager

The Four Seasons Resort Maui at Wailea has appointed Marc Bromley as general manager of the 380-room luxury hotel. Bromley most recently served as general manager of the Four Seasons Resort Scottsdale in Arizona. He has been with the brand for 12 yea.....»»

Category: topSource: bizjournalsJun 25th, 2018

Trump"s return to Instagram and Facebook could doom Truth Social

The major social media platforms are preparing to reverse their bans on Donald Trump. That takes away Truth Social's only selling point — access to the former president's thoughts. Were you on MySpace, reader? I wasn't. I'm Diamond Naga Siu, and I was barely a human yet when it was big. But I've lurked on platforms like YikYak, Stumbleupon, Clubhouse — back when they were still a thing.Now, it could be Truth Social's turn to fade out. With Trump almost back on all social media platforms, there's little that makes his site special. But it never really took off in the first place. Truth Social only just became available on Androids in October. And since launching in February 2022, it only has around 2 million active users — and studies show that number is declining.But no need to worry if you're an avid Truth Socialite. The site likely won't suddenly combust. It'll probably just die off slowly, walking the same painful path that Twitter and Facebook currently seem to be on.On that cheery note, let's dive into today's tech (before it all crumbles away too).If this was forwarded to you, sign up here. Download Insider's app here.Brandon Bell/Getty Images/Christoph Dernbach/picture alliance via Getty Images1. Trump's return to social media spells doom for Truth Social. After the Capitol insurrection, former president Donald Trump was banned from a slew of social media platforms. Just over two years later, the sites have nearly all reversed their decisions. That takes away Truth Social's only selling point — access to Trump.Meta announced on Wednesday that Trump will regain access to his Instagram and Facebook accounts within weeks. The company said it did not want to "get in the way of open, public and democratic debate."Trump is contractually required to post on Truth Social before making the same post on another site for six hours. But there are currently two big, unknown Trump cards at play: whether he'll renew this agreement (which seems increasingly unlikely) and whether he'll even post on the other social media platforms once the ban is lifted.My colleague Beatrice Nolan breaks down the future of Truth Social and what it means for Trump's supporters.Walk the social media tightrope here.In other news:Anuj Shrestha for Insider2. Ketamine is sold as a wonder depression drug, but for some people, it actually worsens things. Prevailing wisdom said it wasn't addictive, and clinics across the country even marketed it as a mental health wonder drug. But people who use Ketamine share a different story. Read more here.3. These are the 15 top streaming TV shows from 2022. Stranger Things and Wednesday are among the most watched shows, based on the total minutes viewed in the US. Check out the others here.4. At least two Google couples got laid off together. "Two out of the 12,000 [laid off] Googlers were staring at each other in disbelief," one husband wrote in a LinkedIn post. Read his account here. Meanwhile, another wife and husband — with a four-month-old baby — told Insider they were laid off together, too.5. This biotech CEO says he reduced his biological age by 5 years. Bryan Johnson's goal is to have the body of an 18 year old. And early results show that he might actually be on track to unlocking the secret to age reversal. Check out this rigorous medical program here.6. Goodbye to subscriptions and hello to usage-based pricing. With a possible market crash on the horizon, the way we pay for things could change. The '08 crash brought in subscriptions, and an impending crash could bring in pay-per-use. Get ahead of the payment curve here.7. This CEO quoted MLK in a layoff announcement. There aren't many great ways to layoff 7% of your company. But quoting MLK might be one of the worst. Read the tone-deaf email here.8. Amazon employees are already using ChatGPT to code. Although employees were told to not use it for work, one Amazonian created a working group to test the chatbot's capabilities. They found that it's adept at answering customer questions and writing cloud training material. More on the test here.Odds and ends:Getty Images; iStock; Alyssa Powell/Insider9. This is why people believe in conspiracy theories. By some measures, more than half of Americans believe in at least one conspiracy theory, even if it defies science or logic. Social scientists are starting to understand why: overconfidence. Take a deep dive into how our brains work here.10. Here's what it's like to work on a cruise ship. Alessandro Menegazzi is the general manager for a $450 million cruise ship. He compares it to traveling the world in a "floating five-star hotel." All aboard to go behind-the-scenes with Alessandro at his job.The latest people moves in tech:Shopify confirmed to my colleague Madeline Stone that it cut at least two VPs. They each spent less than one year at the company.Harold Klaje left Pinterest to join Reddit as its first-ever chief revenue officer.Oracle Health cloud leader Don Johnson abruptly resigned. Its advertising chief product officer Derek Wise also suddenly bounced, according to a leaked memo.Getir's UK general manager Kristof Van Beveren hopped the pond to become its first US general manager.Curated by Diamond Naga Siu in San Diego. (Feedback or tips? Email dsiu@insider.com or tweet @diamondnagasiu) Edited by Matt Weinberger (tweet @gamoid) in San Francisco and Hallam Bullock (tweet @hallam_bullock) in London.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: smallbizSource: nyt14 hr. 6 min. ago

I"m a general manager on a $450-million cruise ship. I"m on duty 24 hours but it"s worth it to travel the world in a floating 5-star hotel.

General manager Alessandro Menegazzi shares what it's like to eat, sleep, and work aboard the luxurious Regent Seven Seas Explorer. Alessandro Menegazzi says he's worked in some of the world's most exclusive hotels, but the sea calls him back.Claire Turrell Alessandro Menegazzi has worked on cruise ships since 1997 and has always felt a call to the sea.  He is now the general manager for the $450-million Regent Seven Seas Explorer. Menegazzi shares what it's like to work and live abroad what he calls a "floating five-star hotel." This as-told-to essay is based on a transcribed conversation with Alessandro Menegazzi, the general manager for the Regent Seven Seas Explorer, about his job at sea. It has been edited for length and clarity. One of my first jobs in the hotel industry was in Palma de Mallorca – a popular tourist destination in Spain. Working by the waterfront, I would see these massive cruise ships coming in and out of the port. I was transfixed. I remember saying, "one day I will be working on one of those ships." Now I'm the general manager on the $450-million Regent Seven Seas Explorer. The Regent Seven Seas Explorer is called "the world's most luxurious" by the cruise line.Courtesy of Six Star CruisesThe first time I joined a cruise ship crew was in Los Angeles in May 1997. It was a short cruise to Alaska, but the second I stepped onboard, I was amazed. I started as a junior purser in reception answering guests' queries. Over the years, I worked my way up the career ladder. I worked on MSC Cruises for four years until I became food and beverage director for Regent Seven Seas in 2014. I've always been drawn to the seaI left the cruise industry a couple of times for hospitality jobs on land. I worked at the iconic hotel Villa D'Este in Lake Como, Italy, but the sea was always calling me back. In Italy, we call it "iron fever" because the ship is like a magnet.In December 2021, I was promoted to general manager for Regent Seven Seas Explorer. The pool deck on the Regent Seven Seas Explorer.Claire TurrellOn the Explorer, the captain is in charge of sailing and I am responsible for anything related to the hotel side of the ship, from customer service to food and beverage. I oversee about 75% of the 550-member crew. The Explorer is a floating 5-star hotelOur Regent Suite, the most expensive cabin on the ship, is decorated with works by Picasso and a Steinway piano and has an in-suite caviar service. In one of our restaurants, we use Versace tableware, and there are more than 500 crystal chandeliers dotted throughout the ship. My office is in the atrium – the beating heart of the ship – where the crew welcomes guests on board with a glass of champagne, and there are sweeping staircases that lead to one of our restaurants.The atrium in the Regent Seven Seas Explorer.Claire TurrellThe ship does trips all around the world. This year we have traveled around the Mediterranean, through Asia, and are now heading to Australia. From there it will move on to Canada. I will be sailing with Explorer for the next two years. You can say which parts of the world you would love to work in, but you can never choose. There are two general managers on Explorer, and we alternate. I work three months on board the ship, and then have three months off. I leave the ship in Bangkok in January, then I will fly home to Japan to spend time with my family and enjoy my three-month break. When I go home to Tokyo, my wife and I usually go on vacation. She will sometimes join me on the ship.I will usually start my day on the ship at 7 a.m.I always get coffee from the onboard cafe for my breakfast. Then I will go to my office and check my emails. As our headquarters are in Miami, there will be plenty of requests that have come in overnight I need to action. However, my job is not 10 hours sitting at a desk. I need to be visible to the guests and crew. I will have meetings with the managers and say hello to the guests. In the evening, I will do a lot of hosting with guests, whether that's at dinner or for welcome drinks. All the senior crew members have to host guests. We will introduce ourselves and then sit down at a table and join them for dinner. We don't have a captain's table as such as we have so many restaurants. Compass Rose Restaurant in the Regent Seven Seas Explorer.Claire TurrellTomorrow night, we will host a table in the Prime 7 Steakhouse. I don't tend to finish work until 9 p.m. Even then, I will sometimes go and watch a show in the theater, so I can tell the guests about it. My days are long, but I would rather socialize than sit alone in my cabin. Everyone I meet is interesting.It's not easy working aboard a luxury ship To work on one, you need to get experience working in a luxury hotel. You also need to have the willingness to live on a ship, it's not easy. When you work onshore in a hotel, you have your days off, and when you leave the hotel, it's done. On board a ship, we are on duty 24 hours a day. When we pull into port, I usually hop off the ship and go for a jog. I'll check Google for a good running route if I don't know the port. I have had many amazing experiences working on board the Regent Seven Seas like sailing into Rio De Janeiro and seeing the Sugar Mountains and visiting the company's private island, Harvest Caye in Belize.I stay in touch with the guests. We recently had a friendly couple stay in the Regent Suite. They are joining the Explorer in Tokyo in November. I asked them to contact me when they arrive and we will probably have dinner together, as I live there.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderJan 26th, 2023

Matthew Grauso appointed as general manager of the Renaissance Honolulu Hotel & Spa at Sky Ala Moana

"Matt is the perfect person to lead the team as we prepare for this exciting opening,” Kelly Sanders, executive vice president of operations for Highgate, said in a statement......»»

Category: topSource: bizjournalsJan 25th, 2023

I run a 5-star Davos hotel. We rely on Red Bull and chocolate to keep morale up during the World Economic Forum.

Hans-Rudolf Ruetti runs a 24-hour operation at the Grandhotel Belvédère hotel in Davos where Bill Gates and other world leaders stay during WEF. Hans-Rudolf Ruetti manages the Steigenberger Icon Grandhotel Belvédère in Davos, Switzerland.Courtesy of Hans-Rudolf Ruetti Hans-Rudolf Ruetti manages the Grandhotel Belvédère, where the most important WEF participants stay. Ruetti said his staff stays onsite and gets about three to four hours of sleep each day.  He said guests have specific requirements and it's tough, but his team loves working during the WEF. This as-told-to essay is based on a conversation with Hans-Rudolf Ruetti, a 62-year-old hotelier with 30 years of experience from Davos, Switzerland, about preparing the Steigenberger Grandhotel Belvédère for guests at the World Economic Forum. It's been edited for length and clarity. For more than 50 years, what's now known as the World Economic Forum (WEF) has taken place in Davos, and every year, the Grandhotel Belvédère has hosted WEF guests. Bill Clinton stayed at this hotel at some point. Angela Merkel, Michael Dell, Bill Gates — you name it, they've been here. I became the general manager of the Grandhotel Belvédère in November 2021, so I've only seen the 2022 WEF, which was moved from January to May. This year, the WEF is expecting nearly 3,000 participants. Last year's forum didn't have quite the same energy, so we're happy to have the real Economic Forum back after such a long break. Besides the assembly itself, there are many side events taking place around Davos. This is why there's a lot of construction going on around both the city and the hotel. Luckily, we don't have much snow right now, and that makes it easier to prepare. Construction taking place around the Grandhotel Belvédère.Courtesy of Hans-Rudolf RuettiIn preparation for the WEF, we closed the hotel to the publicThe hotel is now exclusively open for all the important guests coming from around the world to attend the WEF from January 2 until January 28.  We emptied almost half of the hotel in order to set up for all of the events and prepare for the guests. During the WEF, no one will have access to the hotel without their badge. We have X-ray machines and metal detectors, and each and every person has to go through these to enter the building. It's almost like an airport. Davos itself is like a military zone, where you have limited access and everything is cordoned off. There are several security checkpoints that visitors have to pass through to get to the main street in Davos. That area, about 300 or 400 meters, is strictly blocked off, and you're not allowed to enter unless you have a badge.Of course, there are a lot of police officers inside and outside of Davos, plus we have thousands of security people and army members making sure this event is safe and secure. To accommodate the WEF and its events, we've increased our staff by about 150% We've added an additional 150 employees — and that doesn't include about 100 construction workers around the hotel. It looks like a very busy construction site, but you'll see the same thing all along the main road in Davos. There's a huge three-story pavilion that was built just for the forum to host the press and employees of the WEF. I don't even know how many people can fit in it. The press and media center in Davos.Courtesy of Hans-Rudolf RuettiAt the hotel, we built two temporary two-floor pavilions. There are several events being put on by important guests, and this is always a challenging task when it comes to safety and security. Companies like McKinsey and PricewaterhouseCoopers are holding events like the famous night caps where powerful people meet. We also built an additional three kitchens from where we can deliver food exclusively for hotel guests and events hosted here by the forum participants. The food isn't necessarily fancier, but it takes on a totally different dimension because we have events where there are a few hundred guests invited. These companies organize and pay for the food that will be served. Food is more expensive than usual at the hotel because of the investments we've made — building pavilions and additional offices. We have a huge cost that we have to make up for, but the price depends on whether it's breakfast, lunch, or dinner and the location it's being served at. I run a 24-hour operation during the WEF The day starts at 6 a.m. with breakfast meetings, followed by lunches and more meetings, then dinners and nightcaps that can go until 3 or 4 the next morning. Then everything starts all over again. It's a huge operation. As a result, we have very limited time slots for when we can have goods or foods delivered. So if we don't have something in stock and it has to be delivered, it becomes a real nightmare. There's so much traffic.It takes five minutes to walk from the hotel to the conference center — Davos Congress, where the forum takes place — but if you take a limousine (as many guests do), it can easily take 45 minutes. It's also winter and below 0 degrees Celsius, so understandably guests want to sit in the comfort of a limousine. Each guest has specific needs and specific setup requirements, which means everything needs to be changed in a very short timeframe — this is very challenging.WEF participants expect that everything is in place when they arrive. There are so many different dietary and special requirements for each guest. Last year, when the conference was in May, the forum was a little more down-to-earth, so people wouldn't ask for crazy things and there was maybe less exclusivity when it came to food and beverages. A French public-relations company manages our room inventory on behalf of the WEF, selling the rooms to companies and individual guests for us, so we don't really know who's staying at our hotel until the very last moment. The rooms are probably 50% more expensive during this time, but individual prices depend on the type of room. There's also a five-day minimum length of stay. (Editor's note: Regular room prices at the Steigenberger Icon Grandhotel Belvédère typically range from $325 to $670 a night.) Most of our staff is excited for the WEF It's so interesting to see all of these people — actors, musicians, politicians, business people, people you'd have never dreamed of coming across. It's really an interesting melting pot. So whoever comes to work here very much looks forward to coming back and joining our team each year, but it's tough work. All of the staff members stay on-site. Otherwise, it would be impossible to get everything done. We have a staff house, but we've placed additional beds in each and every room. We have up to six staff members sleeping in a room. The staff hardly gets any sleep, maybe three or four hours a night. A lot of chocolate bars and Redbull help to keep morale up. I get to see the employees with big eyes, and when they finish their work day, they say, "I met him, I met her, I've met Angelina Jolie!" Just imagine, you work 16, 17, 18 hours, but you don't get tired because you're so excited about it all. People don't really get tired until the moment they're done working, then within seconds, they fall asleep. But when you're within the process of all that work, you don't have time to think about it. The jobs can be competitive and it's a lot of hiring, but Deutsche Hospitality, which owns the Steigenberger franchise, including this hotel, is a large hospitality group, so we get some staff from our other hotels. During the WEF, our staff makes an hourly wage that's about 25 to 35% more than their normal salary.The WEF is also an important part of the hotel's yearly incomeJanuary is a quiet period of the year for most hotels, so it makes it easier to get employees here to Davos because they need the work. I don't want to talk about specific figures, but the WEF is important to us and to many other companies in Davos.There really isn't anything we at the hotel don't like about the WEF. Just imagine, you have the most important people in the entire world — from politicians to business people and entertainers — you have them all here. Normally, you see them in the newspaper or on TV, but here, they're all just around the corner. Do they change the world by meeting here? Maybe they don't. But it's important for them to talk to one another. Even if it's not monumental, I believe it's important for people to talk to each other in this more relaxed atmosphere.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: personnelSource: nytJan 18th, 2023

New luxury resort, 1 Hotel Hanalei Bay, to open on Kauai next month

"The resort will be a unique hotel product for Hawaii that falls exactly in line with what our local community is calling out for — a visitor industry partner focused on regenerative tourism," said Jon Gersonde, general manager for 1 Hotel Hanalei Bay......»»

Category: topSource: bizjournalsJan 18th, 2023

IBM appoints new GM for Taiwan office

IBM has appointed Nelson Lee as its new general manager of the Taiwan office after the retirement of his predecessor Lisa Kao, according to the company's announcement......»»

Category: topSource: digitimesJan 16th, 2023

I manage a Davos hotel where Bill Gates and other leaders stay for the World Economic Forum. We barely sleep and live off Red Bull, but we love it.

Hans-Rudolf Ruetti manages the Grandhotel Belvédère hotel in Davos and said he runs a 24-hour operation during WEF. Hans-Rudolf Ruetti manages the Steigenberger Icon Grandhotel Belvédère in Davos, Switzerland.Courtesy of Hans-Rudolf Ruetti Hans-Rudolf Ruetti manages the Grandhotel Belvédère, where the most important WEF participants stay. Ruetti said his staff stays onsite and gets about three to four hours of sleep each day.  He said guests have specific requirements and it's tough, but his team loves working during the WEF. This as-told-to essay is based on a conversation with Hans-Rudolf Ruetti, a 62-year-old hotelier with 30 years of experience from Davos, Switzerland, about preparing the Steigenberger Grandhotel Belvédère for guests at the World Economic Forum. It's been edited for length and clarity. For more than 50 years, what's now known as the World Economic Forum (WEF) has taken place in Davos, and every year, the Grandhotel Belvédère has hosted WEF guests. Bill Clinton stayed at this hotel at some point. Angela Merkel, Michael Dell, Bill Gates — you name it, they've been here. I became the general manager of the Grandhotel Belvédère in November 2021, so I've only seen the 2022 WEF, which was moved from January to May. This year, the WEF is expecting nearly 3,000 participants. Last year's forum didn't have quite the same energy, so we're happy to have the real Economic Forum back after such a long break. Besides the assembly itself, there are many side events taking place around Davos. This is why there's a lot of construction going on around both the city and the hotel. Luckily, we don't have much snow right now, and that makes it easier to prepare. Construction taking place around the Grandhotel Belvédère.Courtesy of Hans-Rudolf RuettiIn preparation for the WEF, we closed the hotel to the publicThe hotel is now exclusively open for all the important guests coming from around the world to attend the WEF from January 2 until January 28.  We emptied almost half of the hotel in order to set up for all of the events and prepare for the guests. During the WEF, no one will have access to the hotel without their badge. We have X-ray machines and metal detectors, and each and every person has to go through these to enter the building. It's almost like an airport. Davos itself is like a military zone, where you have limited access and everything is cordoned off. There are several security checkpoints that visitors have to pass through to get to the main street in Davos. That area, about 300 or 400 meters, is strictly blocked off, and you're not allowed to enter unless you have a badge.Of course, there are a lot of police officers inside and outside of Davos, plus we have thousands of security people and army members making sure this event is safe and secure. To accommodate the WEF and its events, we've increased our staff by about 150% We've added an additional 150 employees — and that doesn't include about 100 construction workers around the hotel. It looks like a very busy construction site, but you'll see the same thing all along the main road in Davos. There's a huge three-story pavilion that was built just for the forum to host the press and employees of the WEF. I don't even know how many people can fit in it. The press and media center in Davos.Courtesy of Hans-Rudolf RuettiAt the hotel, we built two temporary two-floor pavilions. There are several events being put on by important guests, and this is always a challenging task when it comes to safety and security. Companies like McKinsey and PricewaterhouseCoopers are holding events like the famous night caps where powerful people meet. We also built an additional three kitchens from where we can deliver food exclusively for hotel guests and events hosted here by the forum participants. The food isn't necessarily fancier, but it takes on a totally different dimension because we have events where there are a few hundred guests invited. These companies organize and pay for the food that will be served. Food is more expensive than usual at the hotel because of the investments we've made — building pavilions and additional offices. We have a huge cost that we have to make up for, but the price depends on whether it's breakfast, lunch, or dinner and the location it's being served at. I run a 24-hour operation during the WEF The day starts at 6 a.m. with breakfast meetings, followed by lunches and more meetings, then dinners and nightcaps that can go until 3 or 4 the next morning. Then everything starts all over again. It's a huge operation. As a result, we have very limited time slots for when we can have goods or foods delivered. So if we don't have something in stock and it has to be delivered, it becomes a real nightmare. There's so much traffic.It takes five minutes to walk from the hotel to the conference center — Davos Congress, where the forum takes place — but if you take a limousine (as many guests do), it can easily take 45 minutes. It's also winter and below 0 degrees Celsius, so understandably guests want to sit in the comfort of a limousine. Each guest has specific needs and specific setup requirements, which means everything needs to be changed in a very short timeframe — this is very challenging.WEF participants expect that everything is in place when they arrive. There are so many different dietary and special requirements for each guest. Last year, when the conference was in May, the forum was a little more down-to-earth, so people wouldn't ask for crazy things and there was maybe less exclusivity when it came to food and beverages. A French public-relations company manages our room inventory on behalf of the WEF, selling the rooms to companies and individual guests for us, so we don't really know who's staying at our hotel until the very last moment. The rooms are probably 50% more expensive during this time, but individual prices depend on the type of room. There's also a five-day minimum length of stay. (Editor's note: Regular room prices at the Steigenberger Icon Grandhotel Belvédère typically range from $325 to $670 a night.) Most of our staff is excited for the WEF It's so interesting to see all of these people — actors, musicians, politicians, business people, people you'd have never dreamed of coming across. It's really an interesting melting pot. So whoever comes to work here very much looks forward to coming back and joining our team each year, but it's tough work. All of the staff members stay on-site. Otherwise, it would be impossible to get everything done. We have a staff house, but we've placed additional beds in each and every room. We have up to six staff members sleeping in a room. The staff hardly gets any sleep, maybe three or four hours a night. A lot of chocolate bars and Redbull help to keep morale up. I get to see the employees with big eyes, and when they finish their work day, they say, "I met him, I met her, I've met Angelina Jolie!" Just imagine, you work 16, 17, 18 hours, but you don't get tired because you're so excited about it all. People don't really get tired until the moment they're done working, then within seconds, they fall asleep. But when you're within the process of all that work, you don't have time to think about it. The jobs can be competitive and it's a lot of hiring, but Deutsche Hospitality, which owns the Steigenberger franchise, including this hotel, is a large hospitality group, so we get some staff from our other hotels. During the WEF, our staff makes an hourly wage that's about 25 to 35% more than their normal salary.The WEF is also an important part of the hotel's yearly incomeJanuary is a quiet period of the year for most hotels, so it makes it easier to get employees here to Davos because they need the work. I don't want to talk about specific figures, but the WEF is important to us and to many other companies in Davos.There really isn't anything we at the hotel don't like about the WEF. Just imagine, you have the most important people in the entire world — from politicians to business people and entertainers — you have them all here. Normally, you see them in the newspaper or on TV, but here, they're all just around the corner. Do they change the world by meeting here? Maybe they don't. But it's important for them to talk to one another. Even if it's not monumental, I believe it's important for people to talk to each other in this more relaxed atmosphere.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: worldSource: nytJan 16th, 2023

FirstService Residential Appointed Property Manager of The Axel at 545 Vanderbilt Avenue in Brooklyn

FirstService Residential, New York’s leading residential property management company, has been appointed manager for The Axel, a high-end rental tower in Brooklyn’s Clinton Hill neighborhood. Located at 545 Vanderbilt Avenue, the 29-story building houses 284apartments, 30,000 square feet of hotel-inspired amenity spaces, and 60,000 square feet of prime retail space... The post FirstService Residential Appointed Property Manager of The Axel at 545 Vanderbilt Avenue in Brooklyn appeared first on Real Estate Weekly. FirstService Residential, New York’s leading residential property management company, has been appointed manager for The Axel, a high-end rental tower in Brooklyn’s Clinton Hill neighborhood. Located at 545 Vanderbilt Avenue, the 29-story building houses 284apartments, 30,000 square feet of hotel-inspired amenity spaces, and 60,000 square feet of prime retail space with frontage along Vanderbilt and Atlantic Avenues. To-date, the building has rented 60% of its units, a record time for a new development. FirstService Residential was selected to manage the property by Hopestreet Capital, a New York City-based real estate investment group that completed the tower in December 2022. The appointment recognizes the management company’s legacy of delivering luxury-line services to some of the highest-end properties in New York City. “Hopestreet Capital has delivered one of the most coveted new rental properties in the Clinton Hill-Prospect Heights area and we are excited to welcome the first wave of residents to the building,” said Calynne Oyolokor, senior vice president of FirstService Residential’s Multifamily Rental Division. “High-end design should be matched with impeccable service. FirstService Residential is one of the only companies in New York City that can properly retain, train, and retrain managers and building staff in hospitality principles retooled for multifamily buildings, and we look forward to making a difference for every resident at The Axel.” Designed by Morris Adjmi Architects, The Axel sits at the convergence of Clinton Hill and Prospect Heights, two of Brooklyn’s most pristine, historic neighborhoods. Set atop a four-story podium, the residential tower features a gentle, cantilevered form that maximizes views of the Downtown Brooklyn skyline, One World Trade Center, and as far north as Midtown, Manhattan. Within the building, apartments range from studios up to spacious three-bedroom floorplans. Each home offers floor-to-ceiling windows, premium finishes, high-end appliances, a washer and dryer, and generous closet space. “FirstService Residential’s deep understanding of building operations, high level building personnel and exceptional customer service to our residents was really the reason why we retained them for the project,” says Sha Dinour of Hopestreet Capital. The Axel’s amenity collection begins with an outdoor pool and sundeck above the retail podium. At this level there is also an outdoor terrace with grilling stations, communal seating, and tables for small gatherings. The building’s fitness center features state-of the-art equipment, dedicated yoga and Pilates studios, and direct connection to the outdoor terrace. Additional spaces include a co-working suite, private conference rooms, a virtual sports simulator, and a residents lounge. FirstService Residential has observed significant growth in its property management portfolio across all asset types including multifamily rentals, condominiums, and cooperatives. In 2022, the company added 7,200 units to its New York City management portfolio and continues its expansion into Westchester County. Among the company’s new clients are some of the city’s most iconic multifamily properties, including Madison House, an 805-foot-tall skyscraper in NoMad; 100 Eleventh Avenue, designed by Pritzker Prize laureate and renowned architect Jean Nouvel; American Copper Buildings, an award-winning, dual-tower rental property in Murray Hill; One Boerum Place, home to the most expensive rental apartment in Brooklyn history; and Parkway Village, a 675-unit garden-style community in Briarwood, Queens. Last year, FirstService Residential also announced a national expansion of its energy consulting and advisory services across the U.S. and Canada. Provided through its energy advisory affiliate FirstService Energy, the expansion will bring the benefits of the company’s sustainability advisory services to more than 1.7 million homes across 8,600 residential communities as well as the company’s own corporate offices. The post FirstService Residential Appointed Property Manager of The Axel at 545 Vanderbilt Avenue in Brooklyn appeared first on Real Estate Weekly......»»

Category: realestateSource: realestateweeklyJan 10th, 2023

Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Nevada, Arizona and California Properties Appoints New General Manager 

Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Nevada, Arizona and California Properties, the largest Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices franchise in its global network, has appointed industry expert and leader John “JT” Thompson as its new general manager.   “JT epitomizes innovation, integrity and dedication in every aspect of his work,” said Troy Reierson, CEO of Berkshire... The post Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Nevada, Arizona and California Properties Appoints New General Manager  appeared first on Real Estate Weekly. Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Nevada, Arizona and California Properties, the largest Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices franchise in its global network, has appointed industry expert and leader John “JT” Thompson as its new general manager.   “JT epitomizes innovation, integrity and dedication in every aspect of his work,” said Troy Reierson, CEO of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Nevada, Arizona and California Properties. “His extensive background and knowledge of our industry will further our commitment to strategic growth and revolutionize our approach towards internal and external development as a leading force in each of our markets.”  In his new role, Thompson will oversee and support managers across 34 offices with more than 2,900 real estate sales executives. His efforts will focus on developing sales production, recruitment, retention and continuing the company’s core services which include, mortgage, title, escrow and insurance while increasing market share with real estate sales.   “Troy and prior leadership have built a legacy at the firm, and the opportunity to uphold its reputation and work alongside its prestigious industry leaders is an honor,” said Thompson. “Their values and goals align with my objective to provide our real estate sales executives with an advantage by prioritizing both their professional and personal development.”   Prior to joining the brokerage, Thompson was one of seven co-founders that launched Intero Real Estate Services, a Silicon Valley real estate services company, alongside his mentor and colleague Gino Blefari, who is now the CEO of HomeServices of America, Inc. Within its first three years of operation, Thompson played a vital role in the company’s exponential growth, leading to its recognition as one of the fastest growing organically built companies in the nation. Under his leadership, Intero Real Estate Services was acquired by Berkshire Hathaway Home Services in 2014.   Throughout Thompson’s 35-year career, he acquired first-hand experience in nearly every role in the real estate industry, ranging from entry-level to executive-level. He credits his successes and ability to develop other real estate professionals to his wealth of experience and the various positions he has held throughout the industry, including sales, management, ownership and more.   “Our team is comprised of collaborative leaders who build on each other’s strategies. This has been paramount in our steady growth and ability to provide best-in-class experiences for clientele,” said Reierson. “With a proven ability to deliver results, JT’s leadership will substantially drive the value for our real estate sales executives through promoting the growth of their businesses and advancing their personal evolvement.”  The post Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Nevada, Arizona and California Properties Appoints New General Manager  appeared first on Real Estate Weekly......»»

Category: realestateSource: realestateweeklyDec 28th, 2022

America"s lack of boardroom diversity isn"t just a PR problem, it"s a business problem that will make companies more vulnerable in a downturn

McKinsey research found that companies with the most diversity among executives were significantly more likely to outperform peers with the least. CEOs report to corporate boards, and research indicates that the makeup of those boards matters.nadia_bormotova/Getty Images Most corporate boards don't represent the US population and lack diversity, research shows. But companies with more diversity among the executive ranks have been found to outperform peers. Bessie Watts of Vista Equity Partners, a large investment firm, is working to diversify more boards. Behind almost every Fortune 500 CEO is a group of powerful people calling the shots: the executive board. And the makeup of those boards matters. Their worldviews and personal backgrounds shape the actions of the heads of companies, who report to boards.But despite an increase in the racial diversity of directors on corporate boards over the past few years, most boards still aren't representative of America's population. Instead, they're mostly male and mostly white.Of 5,403 board members at Fortune 500 companies, 69% were male and 78.5% were white, according to analysis by Mogul, a recruitment platform that seeks to place executives from underrepresented backgrounds. More than a dozen companies had no board members of color, according to the report, which relied on 2021 data.America's economy is missing out as a result, and that matters as the country faces a potential economic downturn, where every dollar matters. McKinsey research in 2020 finding that companies with diverse leadership performed better than their peers. But some business leaders are working to diversify boards, among them Bessie Watts, the director of the external-board-of-directors program at Vista Equity Partners, a global investment firm.Along with a few partner organizations, Watts launched a program in August to help companies interview and select more board members from underrepresented backgrounds."If you look across public and private boards, and all boards in general, we're not where we want to be," Watts told Insider. "The reality is I am a Black woman. That is my existence. I want to see boards that represent the census."Bessie Watts of Vista Equity Partners is working on a program to increase the pipeline of board members from underrepresented backgrounds.Courtesy of Bessie WattsWatts is working with the National Association of Corporate Directors, whose members consist of more than 23,000 board directors, and the Society of Human Resource Management. The initiative gives people from underrepresented backgrounds access to 12 months of resources to prepare them for board service, educating them on business-leadership practices, CEO selection, and corporate governance.In 2021, she helped appoint 33 board members at Vista Equity Partners' portfolio companies. She said the firm was on track to meet or exceed that number for 2022 and hoped to soon help support hundreds of board candidates."If we don't continue to diversify the board pipeline, we'll just sort of have the same 20 people or so just continuing to be board-appointed," Watts said. "I'm sure they're wonderful, but I think we can widen the pool."Board members from different backgrounds bring unique perspectivesThe move to diversify boards has been gaining traction over the past few years. In his widely read annual letter to shareholders, Larry Fink, the CEO and chairman of BlackRock, the world's largest money manager, in 2018 highlighted the importance of board diversity."Boards with a diverse mix of genders, ethnicities, career experiences, and ways of thinking are less likely to succumb to groupthink or miss new threats to a company's business model," Fink wrote. "And they are better able to identify opportunities that promote long-term growth."The conversation continued to grow in 2019, when a group of more than 180 top CEOs came together to declare the purpose of a corporation was to, in part, embrace diversity. Nationwide protests after George Floyd's murder in 2020 fueled even more research and conversation on the topic.In 2021, the Securities and Exchange Commission approved Nasdaq's rule mandating that all companies that list on Nasdaq have at least two directors who are women or people of color, or explain why they don't.The McKinsey analysis, which looked at 2019 data, found that when it came to profitability, the quartile of companies in its sample with the most gender diversity in leadership were 25% more likely to outperform companies in the bottom quartile of gender diversity. Companies in the quartile with the most ethnic diversity at the top were 36% more likely to outperform their peers in the bottom quartile for ethnic diversity, per the same analysis.And according to findings from a 2021 analysis published in the The Academy of Management, companies with more women in leadership were more open to change and more interested in developing research and development within their companies, two strategies that could benefit many businesses.More CEOs are embracing not just the moral case for board diversity, but the business case, as well, Watts said."We're working with all different types of CEOs from varying backgrounds and experiences. And what I have just seen is a lot of excitement and enthusiasm around our program," Watts said. "We're able to meet and help support board members with valuable new insight."Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderDec 14th, 2022

Lack of diversity in America"s boardrooms is holding companies back. But there"s a growing movement to fix the problem.

McKinsey research found that companies with the most diversity among executives were significantly more likely to outperform peers with the least. CEOs report to corporate boards, and research indicates that the makeup of those boards matters.nadia_bormotova/Getty Images Most corporate boards don't represent the US population and lack diversity, research shows. But companies with more diversity among the executive ranks have been found to outperform peers. Bessie Watts of Vista Equity Partners, a large investment firm, is working to diversify more boards. Behind almost every Fortune 500 CEO is a group of powerful people calling the shots: the executive board. And the makeup of those boards matters. Their worldviews and personal backgrounds shape the actions of the heads of companies, who report to boards.But despite an increase in the racial diversity of directors on corporate boards over the past few years, most boards still aren't representative of America's population. Instead, they're mostly male and mostly white.Of 5,403 board members at Fortune 500 companies, 69% were male and 78.5% were white, according to analysis by Mogul, a recruitment platform that seeks to place executives from underrepresented backgrounds. More than a dozen companies had no board members of color, according to the report, which relied on 2021 data.America's economy is missing out as a result, with McKinsey research in 2020 finding that companies with diverse leadership performed better than their peers. But some business leaders are working to diversify boards, among them Bessie Watts, the director of the external-board-of-directors program at Vista Equity Partners, a global investment firm.Along with a few partner organizations, Watts launched a program in August to help companies interview and select more board members from underrepresented backgrounds."If you look across public and private boards, and all boards in general, we're not where we want to be," Watts told Insider. "The reality is I am a Black woman. That is my existence. I want to see boards that represent the census."Bessie Watts of Vista Equity Partners is working on a program to increase the pipeline of board members from underrepresented backgrounds.Courtesy of Bessie WattsWatts is working with the National Association of Corporate Directors, whose members consist of more than 23,000 board directors, and the Society of Human Resource Management. The initiative gives people from underrepresented backgrounds access to 12 months of resources to prepare them for board service, educating them on business-leadership practices, CEO selection, and corporate governance.In 2021, she helped appoint 33 board members at Vista Equity Partners' portfolio companies. She said the firm was on track to meet or exceed that number for 2022 and hoped to soon help support hundreds of board candidates."If we don't continue to diversify the board pipeline, we'll just sort of have the same 20 people or so just continuing to be board-appointed," Watts said. "I'm sure they're wonderful, but I think we can widen the pool."Board members from different backgrounds bring unique perspectivesThe move to diversify boards has been gaining traction over the past few years. In his widely read annual letter to shareholders, Larry Fink, the CEO and chairman of BlackRock, the world's largest money manager, in 2018 highlighted the importance of board diversity."Boards with a diverse mix of genders, ethnicities, career experiences, and ways of thinking are less likely to succumb to groupthink or miss new threats to a company's business model," Fink wrote. "And they are better able to identify opportunities that promote long-term growth."The conversation continued to grow in 2019, when a group of more than 180 top CEOs came together to declare the purpose of a corporation was to, in part, embrace diversity. Nationwide protests after George Floyd's murder in 2020 fueled even more research and conversation on the topic.In 2021, the Securities and Exchange Commission approved Nasdaq's rule mandating that all companies that list on Nasdaq have at least two directors who are women or people of color, or explain why they don't.The McKinsey analysis, which looked at 2019 data, found that when it came to profitability, the quartile of companies in its sample with the most gender diversity in leadership were 25% more likely to outperform companies in the bottom quartile of gender diversity. Companies in the quartile with the most ethnic diversity at the top were 36% more likely to outperform their peers in the bottom quartile for ethnic diversity, per the same analysis.And according to findings from a 2021 analysis published in the The Academy of Management, companies with more women in leadership were more open to change and more interested in developing research and development within their companies, two strategies that could benefit many businesses.More CEOs are embracing not just the moral case for board diversity, but the business case, as well, Watts said."We're working with all different types of CEOs from varying backgrounds and experiences. And what I have just seen is a lot of excitement and enthusiasm around our program," Watts said. "We're able to meet and help support board members with valuable new insight."Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: personnelSource: nytDec 14th, 2022

Vertiv & The E&I Acquisition: Lies, Damn Lies And Offshore Cash

“Vertiv Holdings Co (NYSE:VRT) is laser-focused on executing well, ensuring we are well positioned to benefit when supply chain conditions improve. Together with E&I, the future of Vertiv has never been brighter and we are excited about the potential value creation opportunities for our shareholders in both the near- and long-term.”- Rob Johnson, CEO “…our […] “Vertiv Holdings Co (NYSE:VRT) is laser-focused on executing well, ensuring we are well positioned to benefit when supply chain conditions improve. Together with E&I, the future of Vertiv has never been brighter and we are excited about the potential value creation opportunities for our shareholders in both the near- and long-term.”- Rob Johnson, CEO “…our team has thoughtfully followed acquisition best practices during the process of identification, valuation, due diligence and integration planning. E&I represents a unique opportunity for Vertiv and it fits well in the Vertiv portfolio. I am excited about the potential of these two great businesses coming together as one,” – Dave Cote, Executive Chairman .first{clear:both;margin-left:0}.one-third{width:31.034482758621%;float:left;margin-left:3.448275862069%}.two-thirds{width:65.51724137931%;float:left}form.ebook-styles .af-element input{border:0;border-radius:0;padding:8px}form.ebook-styles .af-element{width:220px;float:left}form.ebook-styles .af-element.buttonContainer{width:115px;float:left;margin-left: 6px;}form.ebook-styles .af-element.buttonContainer input.submit{width:115px;padding:10px 6px 8px;text-transform:uppercase;border-radius:0;border:0;font-size:15px}form.ebook-styles .af-body.af-standards input.submit{width:115px}form.ebook-styles .af-element.privacyPolicy{width:100%;font-size:12px;margin:10px auto 0}form.ebook-styles .af-element.privacyPolicy p{font-size:11px;margin-bottom:0}form.ebook-styles .af-body input.text{height:40px;padding:2px 10px !important} form.ebook-styles .error, form.ebook-styles #error { color:#d00; } form.ebook-styles .formfields h1, form.ebook-styles .formfields #mg-logo, form.ebook-styles .formfields #mg-footer { display: none; } form.ebook-styles .formfields { font-size: 12px; } form.ebook-styles .formfields p { margin: 4px 0; } Get The Full Ray Dalio Series in PDF Get the entire 10-part series on Ray Dalio in PDF. Save it to your desktop, read it on your tablet, or email to your colleagues (function($) {window.fnames = new Array(); window.ftypes = new Array();fnames[0]='EMAIL';ftypes[0]='email';}(jQuery));var $mcj = jQuery.noConflict(true); Q3 2022 hedge fund letters, conferences and more   Rating UNDERPERFORM Price (5-December-22): $14.35 Target price: $2.00 52-week price range: $7.76 – $27.97 Market capitalization: $5.41 B Enterprise value: $8.36 B Legal Disclaimer After extensive research, we have taken a short position in shares of Vertiv Holdings Co. (NYSE:VRT). This report represents the summation of our opinions. In no way should this report be taken as investment advice or constitute responsibility for investment gains or losses. The information in this report should not be relied upon for investment decisions. All investors must conduct their own due diligence and consult their own investment advisors in making trading decisions. Investors seeking investment guidance on VRT should consult resources with professionals licensed to provide investment advice. The investment banks Cowen & Co., Goldman Sachs, Deutsche Bank and JP Morgan are all listed as having securities analysts that cover VRT. These institutions have significantly greater resources than Dalrymple Finance and the banks’ opinions may differ greatly from ours. We strongly encourage investors to consult these professionals for advice. This is not a solicitation to transact in any of the securities mentioned. The data herein has been obtained from public sources we believe to be reliable. However, the information is presented on an ‘as is’ basis and we make no warranty of any kind as to the accuracy, timeliness and/or completeness of any material contained in this opinion piece Table of Contents Summary Déjà vu: E&I Collapse & Aggressive Guidance – Management again misleads investors and faces “unexpected” business collapse VRT Modus Operandi: Guide High, Ride Stock, Miss Big The Irish Entities Show Collapsed Profitability How Much Was Known Excessive Valuation – VRT paid at least double the industry multiples for E&I Extremely High 30x EBITDA Multiple No Fairness Opinion or Financial Statement Disclosures Hiding Problems at the Underlying Business Accounting & Legal Issues Offshore Cash History of Guidance and Accounting Issues Déjà vu: Another Lawsuit Questionable Practices The Real Competitive Advantage Evidence from South Carolina, Ireland and the UAE A Déjà vu Conclusion Summary VRT often come with a strong sense of déjà vu, where enthusiasm forecasts of fine performance end in disappointment and poor actual results. Unfortunately, the E&I transaction fits the pattern. On September 8, 2021, Vertiv announced its intention to acquire E&I Engineering Group, an Ireland-based PDU and busway manufacturer serving data center customers. The company has production bases in Ireland, the United Arab Emirates (since 2007) and South Carolina, US (since 2014). Total consideration was $1.77B of which $1.16B cash and $600M in shares of the company. On October 27, VRT raised $850M 4.25% 144A notes to fund the transaction, which closed promptly on November 1, 2021. The incoming “change agent” CEO for VRT Mr. Giordano Albertazzi was head of the company’s EMEA region between 2016 and March 2022. He was likely directly responsible for the segment and due diligence of the major acquisition. Knowingly presenting unrealistic financial targets The consideration of $1.8B is 30X the actual 2021/2022 EBITDA and more than double the industry standard multiple. Equally aggressive were the financial targets in the company’s transaction presentation. The table below shows them along with the actual results achieved by E&I since the acquisition: After the transaction close in November 2021 the first reported actual results on Feb 23, 2022 were far below expectations. VRT reported negative operating income from E&I in the quarter and only $7M of EBITDA. The annualized proforma disclosures in the 10K provide EBITDA of $54M for the year, a staggering 55% miss off the management’s presentation. Given performance at the underlying businesses, management must have known expectations put forth were unobtainable. The Irish entities show clear collapse in profitability before the time of purchase Publicly available financial statements of the Irish subsidiaries show EBITDA margins collapsing. Audited financial statements show sales declined by -31% and -6% in 2021 at the two main businesses, while EBITDA was off by staggering –63% and -79% even after adjusting it for substantial acquisition costs. None of the statements or historical audited performance was disclosed by management. Further, VRT’s own 2022 FY guidance is a -56% and -23% negative variance on EBITDA and Sales of E&I from original presentation a little over a year ago. VRT overpaid by $1B for E&I and sent the cash offshore Over 99% of the $1.8B purchase price is allocated to goodwill and intangibles warranting a critical audit note making it is unclear why VRT paid roughly 2x the industry EBITDA and Sales multiples for the collapsing E&I business. There was no fairness opinion disclosed, and the E&I numbers were excluded from the VRT 2021 audit and most of the cash was sent to a Cyprus entity controlled by Philip O’Doherty, formerly CEO of E&I and now a VRT employee. The YTD 22 numbers show that VRT needed a European boost to obfuscate some problems in the segment amid booming industry conditions. A lawsuit by SAI alleges theft of intellectual property and customers by E&I According to the lawsuit, E&I won three bids SAI had expected from large customers. The initial revenue was $18.7M with $20-30M of follow-on for a total of $38.7M-$48.7M. We estimate that the $18.7M of revenue associated with the three accounts cited by SAI accounted for ~20% of E&I US sales in 2020. SAI sent E&I a letter demanding E&I cease (1) interfering with the non-compete agreements; (2) interfering with SAI’s economic opportunities; (3) exploiting SAI’s trade secrets to infringe on SAI’s customer relationships. We contacted SAI, but management declined to comment on the ongoing matter. The cheap labor competitive advantage raises serious ESG issues From allegations of seizing passports in the UAE to an interview with a former South Carolina employee who stated: “Because recruitment and retention were such an issue, even when the felons with sexual convictions were hired, when they repeated these behaviors to others in the workplace they were not fired, they were moved to another area where they had the opportunity to repeat offenses to others. E&I clearly has some HR issues to straighten out. It makes one wonder where some of that extra $1B went to from the Cyprus account. Déjà vu: E&I Collapse & Aggressive Guidance – Management Again Misleads Investors And Faces “Unexpected” Business Collapse Throughout 2021, VRT management assured shareholders higher margins and profitability would arrive by the end of the year. They didn’t. Rather, 4Q21 became known as the ‘big miss’ where promises and guidance were held until the final moment before reported results led to a collapse. Thus far, 2022 has been similar with the bullish early forecasts fading as actual results bring reality to the fore. The same pattern is evident with the E&I transaction. VRT Modus Operandi: Guide High, Ride Stock, Miss Big E&I has followed the data center industry power distribution architecture evolution by adding busway products with better margins (20%+) to the traditional power distribution units (10-15%). It also operates a sheet metal division which provides material to the powerbar and switchgrear manufacturing. The company was presented to investors as a high-margin, growth business, as is evident in what little management disclosed about the operating history and expectations, which is shown below. E&I was purchased as a 33% EBITDA margin business in 2020 with $480M in sales, projected to come down on both the revenue and profitability lines to $460M in sales and $120M in EBITDA in 2021 and then stage strong growth to deliver $570M in sales and $150M in EBITDA in 2022, starting short four months away from the time of presentation. The actual quarterly performance of the business is presented in the table below. Q4 2021 brought only $7M of EBITDA for a total of $54M for 2021 compared to the $120M target presented by management three months beforehand. Sales targets were off by 15% as well. Given the magnitude of VRT’s overall miss and the granularity of analysis needed to confirm these facts, we believe investors were unaware of it. The ambitious 2022 guidance is not fairing any better YTD. The initial $570M in projected sales are now guided down to $437M with $317M realized through Q3. More importantly, the 26% projected EBITDA margin, which was touted as a big reason for the “accretive” transaction, is only 14% and $150M of initial projected EBITDA is now expected to come in at $67M with only $45M realized YTD. These numbers represent a -56% and -23% negative variance on EBITDA and sales of E&I from original presentation a little over a year ago. The Irish Entities Show Collapsed Profitability The E&I transaction involved the purchase of two separate entities: 1) E&I Engineering Ireland which includes five entities, two US production and sales and three domiciled in Ireland, the most important of which are E&I Engineering Ltd and Powerbar Ltd and 2) Powergulf LLC, the UAE entity involved in production and sales in the Middle East. The consideration was split 84% to 16% between them. While we had no access to the UAE company statements, the Irish filings are a matter of public record. We have summarized them in the table below. The operating companies show demonstrable deterioration of performance off the 2020 highs and peak profitability. Powerbar’s sales declined over 30% in 2021 and EBITDA slipped by 63%. We believe powerbar to be the most profitable business within the E&I Group. E&I Engineering’s sales were relatively stable YoY 2020/2021 but EBITDA margins collapsed to 4% even after we adjusted for ₤12M of acquisition costs booked in 2021 (we similarly adjusted Powerbar for ₤6M of acquisition costs). Absent the adjustment the E&I Engineering business booked a loss for the year. Both entities collected a lot of cash in 2021, which was upstreamed as a ₤100M dividend as AR were settled and prepayments decreased signaling weakening order flow. All these developments should have been clearly visible to anyone conducting due diligence on the business. The consolidating entity E&I Engineering Ireland has transitioned to holding company accounting in 2021 following the change in control. However, there is enough historical information to draw similarly informed conclusions on the direction of the business. The summary financials we constructed are presented below. We have translated them to USD for ease of comparison. Overall sales of the group ex the UAE business declined by 17% while the EBITDA margin plunged from 31% to 12%. The statements also highlight the abnormal 2020 profitability with margins in the 22%-25% range in the preceding five years. Also of note is the apparent loss of 200 employees from 2019 to 2020 signaling either temping solutions to boost profitability or expected order flow declines. We have also constructed financial statements of the consolidated group including Powerbar Gulf, the UAE entity, using historical data and publicly available information in the table below. While the numbers have an element of estimate, they do conform to the publicly disclosed financial performance of the business. Again, there is a clear collapse in the performance of the combined entities with EBITDA margin halving YoY. Given the exceptional nature of the FY 2020 margin of 33% a return to the historical norm would have been likely. However, profitability appears to have been pulled forward preventing margins from recovering to historical levels in 2022. The financial patterns evident on the combined statements suggest eroding results must have been expected at the time of purchase. We believe this is evident in how management comments on questions relating to the E&I’s sub-par performance. On VRT’s 3Q22 conference call an analyst noted that E&I had contributed EPS of $0.02 vs $0.10 at the time of the transaction and asked if something had fundamentally changed? The question was not answered directly. Rather than explaining why E&I was seemingly producing at only 20% of its previously stated run-rate and sales would miss by $130M, the question was avoided. CFO Dave Fallon said “part of the value was based on synergies. And our expectations are probably 3x or more of what we originally anticipated. Unfortunately, that’s not showing up in the numbers this year.” The newly appointed CEO, former EMEA manager Giordano Albertazzi, echoed Mr. Fallon adding “I think it strategically made sense, and all the more reason it makes a ton of sense, a ton of sense now.” Neither Mr. Fallon nor Mr. Albertazzi’s answers were forthright. Rather than provide an explanation as to why E&I was underperforming to such a magnitude, they simply doubled-down on the future. In what has become a well-established, identifiable pattern of behavior, management supplants either delivering on expectations or frank explanations of variance with grandiose pronouncements. How Much Was Known Data from the public documents show that E&I’s problems were partially or completely known to users of original financial statements. Further, in its 10K 2021 filing, VRT’s own numbers confirm that the company knew that the business has only generated $47M in EBITDA in the year of acquisition up to transaction close. The number is based on the proforma disclosures which contain adjustments to “proforma events that are directly attributable to the transaction, factually supportable and expected to have a continuing impact on the combined results.” The purchase and sale agreement filed with the SEC, defines Management Accounts as “accounts of the E&I Group and Powerbar Gulf, comprising the unaudited aggregated balance sheet … profit and loss accounts … for each of the monthly periods from the Last Accounts Date (Dec 31, 2020) to March 31, 2021 inclusive.”VRT was given 40 days to file any disagreements with the Completion Accounts prepared as of June 30, 2021. Additionally, there is a pre-completion provision requiring the Sellers to “as soon as reasonably practicable, give to the Buyers reasonable details of any material change in its business, financial position or assets” Despite the factually supportable results, management still chose to not discuss its $120M guidance for the year ending two months prior. Unlike the factually supportable low EBITDA numbers, VRT has avoided putting forward any audited information and has tried to disclaim the high guidance numbers as much as possible. For example, in an 8K filing dated October 13, 2021 as part of raising $850M 4.25% Notes for the transaction the company noted: “While Vertiv has reviewed the unaudited historical data related to E&I provided by E&I in the course of Vertiv’s due diligence, it has not independently verified such data. In addition, this information has not been audited, reviewed, examined, compiled or verified by any independent auditor and has not been prepared in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles in the United States. The forecasts in the acquisition presentation are similarly disclaimed. Further, although a transaction that represented 28.7% of VRT assets at FY end 2021, E&I was excluded from the company’s audit opinion. “management’s assessment of and conclusion on the effectiveness of internal control over financial reporting did not include the internal controls of E&I. Given the nature of the assets, the exclusion could represent a material risk. Over 99% of the E&I transaction net consideration of $1.765M is allocated to Other Intangible Assets $1B of which customer relationships is $731M and Goodwill of $748M. As we detail later in the report, there is a lawsuit against E&I for fraudulently acquiring customers. Not surprisingly, the valuation of these intangible assets valuation warranted a special mention by E&Y in the audit as a critical audit matter. “The significant assumptions used to estimate the fair value of customer relationships included the forecasted earnings before interest, taxes, and amortization, customer attrition rates and a discount rate. The significant assumptions used to estimate the fair value of developed technology included the forecasted revenue, royalty rates and a discount rate. These significant assumptions are forward looking and as such inherently uncertain.” If the valuation was based, in part, on the original $150M 2022 EBITDA estimates management provided to investors, there should be an impairment logged at year end. 99% of the large $1.8B purchase price allocated to two intangibles raises questions about the nature of the valuation. It is a pattern more reminiscent of technology company rather than a switchgear and powerbar manufacturer. Excessive Valuation – VRT paid at least double industry multiples for E&I Extremely High 30x EBITDA Multiple VRT paid a staggering ~30x EBITDA 2021 or 2022 for the E&I business and over 4x revenue. These valuation metrics are at least double the industry standard for much better capitalized and diversified public companies as shown below. Public companies average 15x EV/EBITDA with a range of 10-20x. EV/sales multiples are tighter, around 3x. E&I’s transaction multiple on 2021 took place far above any publicly traded comparable. In 2016, Platinum purchased the debt-free VRT for $4B at an EV/sales of ~1x and ~7x EBITDA. The deal is even more overvalued relative to private transactions. Over the last several years, M&A transactions in VRT’s industrial space have typically taken place at EV/EBITDA multiples of 11-13x and ~2-3x sales. The table below shows several recent acquisitions to provide context. Schneider paid 15x for a high-end Indian switchgear manufacturer with other more representative transactions at 11 to 13x. Further, both the Indian and Turkish deals come with a low-cost manufacturing bases in reliable jurisdictions and sales concentration in the local market – 60% in the case of Ulsoy Turkey – which creates strong international growth prospects under the umbrella of the larger organizations. In 2019 Legrand acquired Universal Electric Corporation with its line of Starline busways for power distribution. Starline is considered to be the top in the business and competes with E&I’s power bar products. Although valuation data on the transaction was not disclosed, we know the company generated $175M in sales in the year acquired. Assuming a margin comparable to E&I’s Powerbar of 22% and an industry multiple of 12x EBITDA, we estimate it was purchased for ~$460M. Legrand’s financial statements for 2019 note that the company made three acquisitions that year with Starline being the largest. Reported acquisitions’ net cash outflow was EUR 452.7M or $507M at the average exchange rate for the year. We believe our estimate is corroborated by the audited data. At the time VRT purchased E&I, we estimate it was worth $700-800M at the top end. An EV/EBITDA multiple of 12x on 2021’s $54M of EBITDA yield a $650M value. The same multiple on 2022E EBITDA of $67M yields a value of $804M. Blending the values obtained from industry normalized multiples shows E&I was worth ~$726M. At $1.76B, VRT paid roughly 2.4x the valuation overpaying by a total of $1B. Press reports support our thesis that VRT vastly overpaid for E&I. In 2019 it appears Mr. O’Doherty began signaling that E&I was for sale. There were two pieces in the press at the time that discussed the profitability of the enterprise. A November 2019 article in the Sunday Times was particularly glowing, noting that revenues and profits surged in 2018, making it one of the most profitable companies in the country. It cited ‘industry sources’ valuing the company at approximately GBP 500M, a multiple of ~10x operating income, which equates to a price of ~$640M. VRT paid 2.76x what E&I was estimated to be worth, and presumably Mr. O’Doherty thought fair, only two years prior on lower income. The context of both industry multiples and a relatively recent valuation ‘signal’ to potential acquirers begs the question: why did VRT pay nearly $2B for this company when it was clearly worth less than ~50% of the price? No Fairness Opinion or Financial Statement Disclosures VRT did not publish detailed financial statements on E&I, despite the fact that they are available. Given the excess valuation paid in the face of a company past peak profitability with declining sales, we have to question VRT’s board’s due diligence efforts in contrast to Mr. Cote’s statement. As a $1.77B transaction that increased VRT’s net debt by ~33%, the E&I deal has had a material financial impact on the company. We assume that the board, at minimum, obtained one fairness opinion – often two are commissioned. The fairness opinion would include financial information and comparable valuation data that would provide some context and justification for the purchase. To our knowledge, a fairness opinion on E&I, assuming one exists, has not been made public or even referenced in public filings. We strongly encourage management to publish all fairness opinions obtained prior to the transaction. In our view, publication could help resolve a number of the many questions arising from the financial anomalies and excessive valuation associated with the transaction. Hiding Problems at the Underlying Business Giordano Albertazzi, currently COO and President of the Americas is set to become the CEO of VRT in January 2023 when Robert Johnson steps down. Previously to assuming his current post in October 2022, Mr. Albertazzi was President of the company in Europe. We believe that in the capacity of President, Mr. Albertazzi would have been instrumental in bringing the E&I acquisition to Vertiv. Analysis of sales as reported and adjusted for E&I’s contribution shows Mr. Albertazzi’s legacy to be the largest beneficiary of the transaction. On an as reported basis, EMEA is a growth market, but excluding E&I sales shows significant erosion of sales throughout 2022. We disaggregated E&I sales from the combined results to show the organic change in VRT’s business. In the table below we compare sales in two ways. We show total sales for all segments for the 9-month periods of 2022. The panels on the left show sales as reported, on the right, we remove E&I’s contribution to show VRT’s organic change in sales. In the bottom part of the exhibit, we show the same 9-month changes, but with both panels adjusted for the FX losses in the period. The right panel also has E&I removed. All E&I sales are recorded in the Critical Infrastructure segment. We have highlighted the appropriate numbers to show the impact of the adjustment. The comparison highlights two issues. On an as reported basis, Europe shows respectable 15.8% growth overall, with 30% growth in Critical Infrastructure, where E&I sales are recorded. The top right panel adjusted for E&I shows an overall decline of 9.5%, indicating results in the segment would have been deeply negative without the acquisition. Critical Infrastructure, the largest segment, would have been down 12%. The bottom panels show sales adjusted for FX losses. Excluding E&I sales but adjusted for FX losses shows below-industry growth of 7.5% down from proforma +30%. The Services segment is particularly weak; and although growth is strong with Integrated rack solutions, the division is very small. The lack of growth in Europe is particularly disconcerting because competitors have noted the strength of markets thus far in 2022. Schneider Electric noted on its conference call that its data center business was experiencing ‘double-digit’ growth on a y/y basis. Western Europe was up 14% on an organic basis. Eaton noted “solid growth in Europe”. Similarly, Legrand reported that the data center business was up despite difficult y/y comparisons and Europe; business was up 10.5%. VRT’s European business is weak and without the acquisition would have shown -9.5% revenue decline while the industry was recording 10%+ results. We suspect that Mr. Albertazzi and VRT management were aware of the European trends when the purchase E&I was proposed. Although E&I has dramatically underperformed expectations, it has effectively masked weakness in the company’s European business. Legal and Accounting Issues Déjà vu – Another lawsuit Lawsuits are an important feature of VRT’s history and operations. Our first report on the company relied heavily on lawsuit testimony from executives indicating that management lied to investors throughout 2021 in effort to inflate the stock price. Prior to the current class action, the company was sued in conjunction with Facebook for stealing the intellectual property regarding warehouse sized pre-fabricated, modular designed data centers of the Bladeroom Group. Litigation began prior to Platinum’s acquisition of VRT. A $120M judgement (indemnified by Emerson) against VRT was recently vacated and the matter is ongoing. As part of E&I’s acquisition, VRT must contend with a multi-faceted lawsuit alleging theft of intellectual property, trade secrets and customers. E&I was sued in March 2021 in US District Court in Illinois by a Chicago-based competitor, SAI Advanced Power Solutions (SAI). In the second amended complaint filed on 12/21/21, SAI makes several allegations centered around the activities of VP of Sales, Shane Wolfram, who left SAI to work for E&I. The lawsuit states that at the time just prior to VRT’s acquisition of E&I, the company was retooling its US switchgear business, incorporating SAI technology and confidential information on what wins bids and targeting a number of SAI’s large clients with some success with the help of Mr. Wolfram. The plaintiff alleges E&I fraudulently acquired some switchgear technology and customers. SAI alleges that the former employee, in violation with his non-compete and separation agreement, worked with E&I to co-opt SAI technology and ‘pilfer’ top-10 customers. Customers on the non-solicitation list include large hyperscale developers and operators, such as CloudHQ, Stack Infrastructure, Iron Mountain and Toshiba. E&I won contracts with CloudHQ and Stack Infrastructure following the hiring of Mr. Wolfram. The suit alleges collusion between Wolfram and E&I and CEO O’Doherty. SAI supports its claims with telephone records, emails and texts likely obtained in discovery. The suit notes that Mr. Wolfram deleted 200 text messages to E&I representatives before turning in his company phone to SAI. The suit details an incident where Mr. O’Doherty, unaware that Mr. Wolfram has turned his corporate phone in to SAI, calls and immediately begins discussing how to recruit another SAI employee to E&I – a prohibited action under Wolfram’s agreement with SAI. Mr. O’Doherty was unaware that it was not Mr. Wolfram who answered, but a loyal SAI employee. The conversation was subsequently reported to SAI management. The matter is ongoing but the case should be concerning to VRT. It is a lawsuit management must have encountered during due diligence, and did not disclose to investors. More importantly, it appears VRT did not have the matter indemnified in the purchase and sales agreement. The purchase and sales agreement specifically cites an ongoing matter related to an insurance claim, but states that “no group company is the subject of any legal or regulatory investigation, inquiry or audit, in each case, in respect of which the liability of the Group is likely to be in excess of $1,000,000 individually.” Although the Bladeroom action has reverted back to the starting position, the original $120M liability is suggestive of the scale of awards. The E&I lawsuit suggests there was $39-49M in sales directly attributable to three customers ‘pilfered’ from SAI. A loss in court would mean that VRT purchased an under-performing company at a sky-high valuation that included a significant legal liability. $731M or 40% of the purchase price of E&I was allocated to “customer relationships”. Perhaps the lawsuit’s allegations that some customers were fraudulently obtained was the impetus for E&Y tagging the intangible with a critical audit matter. History of Guidance and Accounting Issues VRT has a history of guidance and accounting issues in its short history of an independent public company since February 2020. First, on March 1, 2021 E&Y gave its 2020 audit a qualified opinion on account of deficient controls over financial reporting. “In our opinion, because of the effect of the material weaknesses described below on the achievement of the objectives of the control criteria, the Company has not maintained effective internal control over financial reporting as of December 31, 2020, based on the COSO criteria. A material weakness is a deficiency, or combination of deficiencies, in internal control over financial reporting, such that there is a reasonable possibility that a material misstatement of the company’s annual or interim financial statements will not be prevented or detected on a timely basis. The following material weaknesses have been identified and included in management’s assessment. Management has identified material weaknesses in controls related to (a) not fully designing, implementing and monitoring general information technology controls in the areas of user access and program change-management for systems supporting all of the Company’s internal control processes; (b) the aggregation of open control deficiencies across the Company’s financial reporting processes because the controls were not fully designed and operating effectively.” Secondly, on February 23, 2022 after repeatedly guiding revenue and AOP expectations higher, VRT missed its own months old guidance by an exceptionally large margin of 80% on the profitability metric of adjusted operating income sending the stock down 37% on the day of the reporting. A number of shareholder lawsuits ensued and at least one appears to be settled. However, on September 16, 2022 an amended suit was filed for the City of Riviera Beach General Employees Retirement System v Vertiv Holdings Co. Et al, case number 1:22-cv-3572. It provides testimony from high level VRT employees that management deliberately mislead investors about the nature and prospects of the business in order to help effect sales of shares for the private equity owner at inflated prices. Here is a link to the amended complaint. VRT has not publicly commented on the allegations and its defense strategy and none of the sell side analysts mention its existence or relevance to the company. Offshore Cash In addition to collapsing profitability and excess valuation, the E&I Group has been stripped out of cash on a regular basis via its controlling shareholder Cyprus offshore entity Powerbar Limited Cyprus which holds controlling share of the two underlying companies. The table below summarized the data from Irish & Cypriot disclosures: dsadas More than 2/3 of all the cash generated by the E&I group has been paid out via the entity. Further, the cash and share consideration of $1.8B paid by VRT was very likely received by the same entity and distributed offshore. None of this was disclosed and Philip O’Doherty, the CEO of E&I and controlling party of the Cypriot firm is a VRT employee. Questionable Practices The Real Competitive Advantage E&I does not hold a technological, distribution or other advantage in the commoditized business of PDU and powerbars. In fact, the company faces stiff competition from large and well-established and better-capitalized entities. The only real advantage (other than customer poaching discussed previously) is ability to access cheap labor in relative proximity to its end markets in order to keep transportation costs low. However, there is an issue with how E&I is able to achieve its competitive edge which impacts its sustainability. Evidence from South Carolina, Ireland and the Persian Gulf There are consistent themes with employee reviews across E&I’s three manufacturing locations. They center around low pay, high turnover, few opportunities for advancement unless a ‘friend of management’, favoritism displayed by management, an unprofessional ‘manage by fear’ style. There are distinctions among them. Reviews indicate Powerbar Gulf in the UAE is the most troubling work environment. They site behavior that goes beyond the overwork, bad management and poor conditions cited at other facilities, and include harassing and threatening behavior by managers, financial penalties and threats, and passport seizure, which would make a worker more akin to a slave. South Carolina’s complaints are just behind the UAE, centering on what should be unacceptable behavior, including tolerating serial sexual harassment offences from felons. E&I Engineering U.S. and Ireland E&I Glassdoor reviews in the U.S. show 7 1 and 2 star reviews and 5 4 and 5 star reviews. E&I Ireland and the U.S. has 13 5-star reviews and 9 1-star reviews. However, all 9 1-star reviews were marked as helpful by one or more individuals; only 1 of the 13 5-star reviews received a helpful vote. E&I’s South Carolina facility has a deeply troubling reputation. There are a number of reviews on Glassdoor. However, a quoted text from a conversation with an employee provides details of what appears to be a significant, ongoing corporate problem. The text below are unedited outtakes from our conversation: “The overall morale at the plant is extremely poor, many folks feel they're underpaid, overworked and underappreciated. I found the staff, both in US and Ireland, to make a lot of promises and pledges and frequently not uphold them. Annual reviews were not conducted in a timely manner, raises and bonuses were not implemented when promised either.” “Americans at the factory believe they cannot be promoted unless they're Irish and this resulted in a lot of turnover. Devices, equipment and products frequently left the plant with significant issues and possible hazards and dangers. The production workers were being led by unqualified individuals. Many of the workers and staff had significant criminal records, convictions of sexual offenses were common for hires. Because recruitment and retention were such an issue, even when the felons with sexual convictions were hired, when they repeated these behaviors to others in the workplace they were not fired, they were moved to another area where they had the opportunity to repeat offenses to others.” “The Anderson, SC facility is a disaster and I fully anticipate future lawsuits and issues to plague the company until significant changes are implemented…” 1.0 ★★★★★ Current Employee Terrible Workplace - Burnfoot Jun 10, 2021 - Accounts Assistant in Burnfoot Pros It's easy to get a job here due to the high turnover Cons Staff are discouraged from talking even about work so the atmosphere is horrible. Pay is low for most and there is no real payscale and major inconsistencies. Employees are discouraged from discussing their pay. The atmosphere is horrible as everyone fears management. They do nothing to benefit the lives of employees, no clubs, no events, not even a canteen on site. Management use punishment rather than praise to "motivate" staff. Bullying by management is common. Innovation is discouraged Staff are generally unhappy and this unhappiness is contagious. If you are on a salary, expect to do a lot of unpaid overtime. Staff are not valued. They would rather replace you than give you any kind of pay increase. There is more staff than there is parking. Staff turnover is high so it can be hard to know who's doing what. Advice to Management Place more value in staff. Do more to support staff. Encourage innovation. Listen to staff and their needs. Powerbar Gulf Reviews We have included several employee reviews on Powerbar Gulf from two sites below. To put the reviews in context, both groups are rated from 1 to 5 stars. Indeed.com had only 15 reviews, roughly evenly split between 1 and 5 star with approximately 18% for each group. Google has 75 reviews, split almost 50/50 between 1 and 5 star. However, Google provides a ‘thumbs up’ option if readers find the reviews helpful. The more detailed 1-star reviews showed below were voted most helpful, suggesting that the reviews resonated with readers. Sachin Prajapati - 2 reviews - 7 months ago - 1/5★ Worst company do not deserve even a single star. First of all, The whole recruiting and staffing procedures are horrible. Moreover, once you board, they started treating inhumanely with you. Even they don't have felicitous amenities for their employees and doesn't wants to ameliorate either. In case, you want to leave or deny to work, they charges enormous penalties and cease passport too. As a result, you found yourself in big trouble. What ever I have written here, is from the worst experienced had by my one of the friends so, i thought to narrate it with you, in hope to depicts real picture of this firm before to opt. Lastly, it might be the best for some other guy, but it was scarred stiff for my friend. Miyatra Dolly - 2 reviews - 7 months ago - 1/5★ Zero star One of the worst HR team. If you want to left the company, then they will terrorize you and will tell you that you will be not able to work in gulf if you left our company. They will be polite on mail but in actual they will insult and scarify you in personal. A worst place to work U will have to work under a revenging GM, management is very much incapable to handle employees. You will feel like in a jail under jail warden . People get runaway from the company or will be terminated with silly reasons Déjà vu Conclusion VRT is a chronic underperformer having missed every material financial goal set, yet management’s forward-looking statements are replete with grandiose expectations. Even what should be mundane 8-K on bonus compensation filed on November 21, 2022 attempted to strike an inspirational tone of hope for the future finances of the company. The board set performance compensation levels at $1B on AOP, 35% above what we believe is already an unobtainable $740M. The 8-K states that the board believes it’s a stretch. It’s not. It’s ridiculous. Part of a much larger pattern of behavior where facts and reality are eschewed in favor of great proclamations signaling a profitable future. Less than 3-years into its life as a public company, the rhyming pattern is evident in VRT’s failures. Promised margins fail to materialize, bullish guidance is lowered and missed, and the high growth and profit expectations of the acquisition target disappear as results shift from estimated to actual. Over time these series of failures evoke a sense of déjà vu. Evidence in the lawsuit suggests that investors and analysts were being misled regarding various aspects of the business, including the likelihood of financial performance. Our research and analysis of E&I’s financial statements indicate that management and the board must have known that the company would not meet near-term projections. There is what is becoming a firmly established pattern of intent. There is a playbook in the pattern and management appears to stick to it. And why wouldn’t they? Every time management offers up a new higher financial target analysts seems to forget the immediate recent past and help support the stock. The problem is that the great expectations put forth to investors by management are not factually supported, but at best hopes and dreams, at worse intentional distractions. Our analysis is factually supported. E&I financial statements show that the company was destined to miss management’s guidance. The transaction provided a great hope during a trying time for shareholders, but as befitting with VRT’s history, it too is a disappointment – except to the sellers......»»

Category: blogSource: valuewalkDec 6th, 2022

The Club at Kukuiula has appointed a new general manager

Brian Hallberg stepped into the role after nearly two decades at a luxury club community in Arizona......»»

Category: topSource: bizjournalsNov 29th, 2022

Many of Donald Trump"s legal problems are coming to an end as he launches his 3rd presidential run — but the biggest risks remain

Donald Trump still faces open-ended investigations related to the 2020 election and taking government documents — but he's swept away other headaches. PALM BEACH, FLORIDA - NOVEMBER 15: Former U.S. President Donald Trump leaves the stage after speaking during an event at his Mar-a-Lago home on November 15, 2022 in Palm Beach, Florida. Trump announced that he was seeking another term in office and officially launched his 2024 presidential campaign.Joe Raedle/Getty Images Donald Trump has steadfastly settled a number of major legal headaches in the lead-up to his 2024 run. Other cases are expected to conclude well before 2024. However, Trump still faces open-ended risks from the Justice Department and Fulton County's DA. While he was president, Donald Trump spent four years delaying investigations and lawsuits against him.In the lead-up to his announcement this month announcing a third presidential run, he cleared many of them away.Earlier in November, he settled a lawsuit brought way back in September 2015 by protesters who alleged they were beaten up by his security guards outside Trump tower while demonstrating against his racist diatribes against Mexicans.Between the fall of 2021 and spring of 2022, he went on a settlement sprint.In September 2021, his company also settled a lawsuit from a hotel management company that purchased Trump's hotel in Panama, claiming the Trump Organization misrepresented its financial health. A couple of months later, just before Trump was scheduled to sit for a deposition, he settled a case brought by Summer Zervos, who had alleged he sexually assaulted her twice and then defamed her when he called her a liar. And in May, Trump's company and inaugural committee agreed to pay a $750,000 fine to settle an investigation from Washington, DC Attorney General Karl Racine over misspent money he claimed enriched members of the Trump family.Trump can also thank judges for handing him several victories.November 15, 2022 was probably his best day in court in recent memory. In a New York state court case, a judge dismissed a lawsuit brought by his niece Mary Trump, who alleged he and two of his siblings maneuvered to thwart her of her rightful inherited share from the family business empire.On the same day, another judge, in a New York federal court, dismissed a lawsuit brought by Michael Cohen who alleged the Trump administration targeted him personally to remove him from house arrest and keep him behind bars in the middle of the coronavirus pandemic. (Cohen told Insider he's considering an appeal.)Some cases involving Trump's associates, too, are no longer hanging over him.His longtime friend Tom Barrack was acquitted by a jury in Brooklyn over charges that he illegally acted as a lobbyist for the United Arab Emirates. Prosecutors said they wouldn't seek charges against his former personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani following an investigation into whether he illegally acted as a lobbyist to foreign powers, either.In the loss column, Steve Bannon was found guilty of contempt of Congress for defying a subpoena from the committee investigating the January 6 riot. The Supreme Court this week also cleared the way for a separate House committee to obtain his tax returns, though it's unclear what will happen to them before Republicans retake the chamber in January.He may be able to clear the rest by 2024...Some of Trump's legal headaches he just can't get rid of, no matter how hard he rages.Right now, the Trump Organization is on trial in Manhattan on criminal tax fraud charges. The defense, Insider's Laura Italiano reported, relies on convincing the jury that Trump was just a really generous boss and didn't keep too close an eye on his company's financial affairs.The Manhattan District Attorney's office also hasn't ruled out the possibility that it would bring charges against Trump personally as part of its investigation into his company's finances. And Trump is facing a $250 million lawsuit from the New York Attorney General as part of a parallel case alleging he inflated the company's income to cheat banks and insurers. The attorney general's office has already convinced a judge to put his company under an independent monitorship, held him in contempt, and forced him and other executives to sit for depositions.Former US President Donald Trump speaks at the Mar-a-Lago Club in Palm Beach, Florida, on November 15, 2022.ALON SKUY/AFP via Getty ImagesIt's unclear when these cases might go to trial, or if they'll settle beforehand.In a Monday court filing, Trump's lawyers have asked the judge overseeing E. Jean Carroll's litigation against him, accusing him of sexual assault and defamation, to head to trial by May 2023.Another lawsuit, brought by plaintiffs who allege the Trump Organization cheated them by pushing a scam multi-level marketing scheme, will likely head to trial in the fall of 2023 if it isn't settled by then. In a Monday court filing, lawyers for the plaintiffs asked the judge for an October 2023 trial date, "before primary contests and other campaign-related events begin in earnest.""Plaintiffs have no desire to interfere with the upcoming campaign, and are mindful that, should the schedule in this case extend into 2024, Defendants likely will, as they have in the past, use the campaign as a basis to seek further delay," the lawyers wrote....with a few major exceptionsTrump's most severe legal problems are also the ones he will have the most difficulty getting rid of.His biggest threats are from the Justice Department, which opened a criminal investigation into his handling of government records he took with him to Mar-a-Lago. Attorney General Merrick Garland appointed Jack Smith, an experienced war crimes and political corruption prosecutor, as special counsel overseeing the probe.Attorney General Merrick Garland speaks to reporters on August 11.Susan Walsh/APTrump won an early victory by successfully convincing a federal judge he appointed in Florida to bring a "special master" in the case, briefly delaying the government's ability to use documents it seized from his estate for its investigation. But his lawyers have been embarrassed by the circuit court in appeals related to the case, indicating his legal defenses will have a tough time as the investigation progresses.Smith is also overseeing a separate criminal investigation into efforts to keep Trump in power despite losing the 2020 election. Trump faces a series of lawsuits from members of Congress as well as Capitol Police officers injured during the January 6 riot that seek to hold him responsible for the day's chaos. While the House of Representatives' January 6 panel is scheduled to wrap up before Republicans retake it in January, the legal cases have no end in sight.Trump's efforts to stay in power despite the will of American voters have also drawn scrutiny in Georgia. Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis has been overseeing a thorough probe into his calls to state officials asking them to "find" votes in his favor and invalidate now-President Joe Biden's victory in the 2020 election.Willis has been fighting court battles to force figures in Trump's orbit to sit for depositions in her investigations and is said to consider bringing indictments as soon as December.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderNov 27th, 2022

From CEO Parag Agrawal to Robin Wheeler and Yoel Roth, these top Twitter execs have been fired, laid off, or quit since Elon Musk"s takeover

Since Elon Musk bought Twitter for $44 billion, its leadership has changed drastically, with mass layoffs, rounds of firings, and many resignations. Elon Musk purchased Twitter for $44 billion on October 27.Adrees Latif/Reuters Elon Musk took over Twitter after his deal to buy the platform went through on October 27. The billionaire's first move was to fire CEO Parag Agrawal and three more top execs. Others have decided to quit. Here are all the execs and top managers who got fired or have left. Elon Musk is overhauling Twitter after taking overMichael Gonzalez/Getty ImagesTesla CEO Elon Musk, the world's richest man, sealed the deal and acquired Twitter for $44 billion on October 27 after months of costly litigation. Following his takeover, one of his first moves was to fire four top executives. In the days since, others have also decided to leave on their own terms.Musk had already put in motion wide-ranging plans for Twitter, including charging users for verification, bringing back video-sharing app Vine, and laying off staff, as he plans to overhaul the company. He has scrapped Twitter's board of directors, becoming its sole director.Here are all the executives and top managers who have either been fired or left the social media company following Musk's takeover.CEO Parag AgrawalKevin Dietsch/Getty ImagesAgrawal joined Twitter in 2011 as a software engineer. He became chief technology officer in October 2017 following the departure of Adam Messinger. He was appointed CEO in November 2021 after Jack Dorsey stepped down. He spent almost a year in the role, until Musk fired him on October 27.While the 38-year-old only ran the company for less than a year, he's set to walk away with a payout of $38.7 million, though sources told both The Information and The New York Times that Musk dismissed him and other executives "for cause," which means he could avoid paying out severance pay and unvested stock awards.Agrawal's relationship with Musk was rocky, with the billionaire accusing him of hiding essential data about fake accounts on the platform.Chief financial officer, Ned SegalDrew Angerer/Getty ImagesSegal, who was fired by Musk on October 27, tweeted the next day that the six months leading up to Musk finally purchasing the social-media app "have pulled on every mental muscle I've developed in 48 years."He added: "You learn so much when times are challenging and unpredictable, when we are tired or feel our integrity questioned. Our team remained kind, respectful, and steadfast. They're lifelong friends."Segal said he has "great hope" for Twitter and described his time at the company as the "most fulfilling of my career." He changed his Twitter bio to "Former CFO and current fan of @Twitter."Segal joined Twitter in August 2017. He was a longtime Goldman Sachs banker who had been the senior vice president of finance at Intuit in Silicon Valley before joining Twitter.Legal chief, Vijaya GaddeMike Coppola/Getty Images for TwitterGadde is mostly known for leading the team that decided to ban former president Donald Trump from the platform following the January 6 riots while then-CEO Jack Dorsey was on vacation.Gadde joined Twitter in 2011 as a legal director. Gadde reportedly cried during a meeting wherein she expressed concerns that the company could change amid Musk's takeover, Politico reported.Musk said in May that kicking Trump off Twitter had been a "morally bad decision" and "foolish in the extreme," per the Associated Press.Gadde was fired by Musk within hours of him taking control of Twitter.General counsel, Sean EdgettTom Williams/Getty ImagesEdgett joined Twitter in 2012, leaving his role as legal director of corporate and securities for NetApp, a network storage solution provider.After being fired by Musk, he tweeted: "Twitter is full of the most amazing people. I have so much gratitude for my former team and colleagues. Keep taking good care of this place, Tweagle."Edgett was publicly praised by a number of Twitter staffers after his departure.One user said: "I'm so proud to have worked with [Vijaya Gadde] and [Sean Edgett]: thoughtful, compassionate, principled leaders that made this platform safer ... Their loss from Twitter will be felt immensely."Another wrote: "Sean - you are a legend. Thank you for your leadership and humanity always. It's been a pleasure." Chief customer officer, Sarah PersonetteRoy Rochlin/Getty ImagesPersonette, who led Twitter's advertising sales, said that she had resigned the day after Musk took charge and that her work access had been cut off three days later.While she didn't say why she left the company, Personette said: "It has been the greatest privilege to serve all of you as a leader and a partner." She had spent around four years at the company. "Many have heard me say this but the most important role I believe I played in the company was championing the requirements of brand safety," she added.She shared some advice for Twitter workers, tweeting: "Remember that we create the organization we want to be a part of. No one else."Just hours before she resigned, Personette had tweeted that she'd had a "great discussion" with Musk the evening before.Chief people and diversity officer, Dalana BrandTwitterBrand was the chief people and diversity officer at Twitter. She took that role in February 2022 and spent around four years in total at Twitter. She resigned not long after Musk took over."It has truly been one of the best experiences of my career," Brand tweeted. "I am grateful to have had the opportunity to work with some of the most brilliant passionate, and dedicated folks anywhere." Chief marketing officer, Leslie BerlandFrancois Durand/Getty ImagesBerland left the company soon after Musk's deal went through, Insider reported. The New York Times, Bloomberg, and Reuters also reported that she had left.General manager of consumer and revenue product, Jay SullivanAlex Wong/Getty ImagesSources told Insider that Musk let Sullivan go the day after Musk took over.The New York Times and Reuters also reported that Sullivan had left Twitter.According to his LinkedIn profile, Sullivan joined Twitter in November 2021 after stints at Facebook parent company Meta, and Groupon.General manager for core technologies, Nick CaldwellCarina Johansen/Getty ImagesSources told Insider that Musk let Caldwell go the day after Musk took over.Caldwell describes himself in his Twitter bio as a "former Twitter Exec." Sources also told The New York Times and Reuters that Caldwell had left the company.Two days after he was said to have left the company, he tweeted: "I'm thankful to have such amazing friends and family."He left Google to join Twitter as its vice president of engineering in June 2020, becoming a general manager around 18 months later, per his LinkedIn profile.Chief accounting officer, Robert KaidenTwitterKaiden left the company after Twitter made its layoffs arrangements, making him one of the last execs who was at Twitter before Musk's arrival to depart, people familiar with the matter told Bloomberg.VP of global client solutions, Jean-Philippe MaheuTayfun Coskun/Getty ImagesMaheu left the company shortly after Musk took charge.He had worked at Twitter for nearly a decade, per his LinkedIn profile. Head of internal communications, Julie SteeleTwitterSteele announced late on November 4 that she was leaving the company. "My head is held high, knowing I gave it my absolute all," she tweeted. "We have so much to be proud of. Time to fly even higher!"Global head of advertising sales, Robin WheelerRobin Wheeler and Elon Musk appear on a virtual call with advertisers as part of a meeting with Twitter's Influence Council.Courtesy of sourceWheeler handed in her resignation on November 10, but Musk persuaded her to stay in the job, according to two people familiar with the matter who spoke to Insider.But the billionaire changed his mind just a week later, the sources said. They said that Wheeler was fired on Friday after she refused to lay off more staff more Twitter's ad sales team.Wheeler's Twitter bio now describes her as a "proud Ex-Twitter Sales Exec." She tweeted on Friday that her team and clients "were always my first and only priority." Head of Trust and Safety, Yoel RothGetty ImagesRoth left the company on November 10.He was one of the more senior executives to survive the mass layoffs. After Gadde was fired, Roth suddenly became the highest-ranking exec in Twitter's trust and safety department.Roth had repeatedly tried to assuage people's concerns about the platform under Musk's leadership.In private, however, he had clashed with Musk over issues including allowing controversial Christian news outlet The Babylon Bee and conspiracy theorist Jordan Peterson to return to Twitter, The Washington Post reported."A Twitter whose policies are defined by edict has little need for a trust and safety function dedicated to its principled development," Roth wrote in an op-ed for The New York Times after he resigned.Others posted about being hit by Twitter's mass layoffs or about resigningElon Musk.Susan Walsh/APOther people who posted tweets saying they had been laid off included people in managerial and leadership roles, including Twitter's global head of social and editorial, the director of ML ethics, transparency, and accountability, the chief information security officer, the managing director of Twitter Studio, the head of social impact, the head of contingent workforce & BPO strategic sourcing, and the head of location strategy.Musk also laid off the company's entire human rights team, its human-rights counsel said.Twitter's head of US content partnerships resigned after eight and a half years at the company. Twitter's VP for real estate and work transformation and its SVP finance also quit after around a decade each at the company. A senior director of finance operations also left the company, though the circumstances are unclear.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderNov 25th, 2022

Ala Moana Hotel by Mantra completes room refresh as part of multiyear renovation

“We really try and position ourselves to support local,” Daniel Barnard, general manager at Ala Moana Hotel by Mantra, told PBN in an email. “I feel that is something that the hotel has been known for, ever since it was built.".....»»

Category: topSource: bizjournalsNov 23rd, 2022

I"ve been to Margaritaville"s cruise, hotel, and RV resorts — now I see why the fun Jimmy Buffett branding has made it such a popular hospitality company

Margaritaville's hospitality concepts aren't the typical unexciting hotels or RV resorts. Instead, they're tropical getaway with reminders of Buffett. Margaritaville Jimmy Buffett's Margaritaville has become a hospitality empire with hotels, a cruise line, and RV resorts. I visited four Margaritaville properties and saw how its consistent branding has driven it to success. Every property evoked the laid-back Buffett lifestyle with amenities named after his lyrics. Jimmy Buffett's Margaritaville has become a hospitality empire.A Camp Margaritaville.MargaritavilleAnd after visiting four of its properties, I now understand why: The company has perfected its highly consistent Buffett "lifestyle" branding.Brittany Chang/InsiderAnd travelers can't get enough of it.Brittany Chang/InsiderOver the last few years, Margaritaville has been diversifying its real estate portfolio beyond what traditional hotel companies have done.Brittany Chang/InsiderWhat was once a simple song that turned into a collection of restaurants, bars, and hotels …A Margaritaville restaurant in Florida.Andriy Blokhin/Shutterstock… is now a portfolio of Buffett-branded RV resorts, timeshares, senior living communities, and even a cruise line.MargaritavilleOver the last two years, I visited two of its RV resorts in Florida and Tennessee, a hotel in New York City, and its cruise ship sailing out of Florida.Brittany Chang/InsiderBut no matter the concept and location, by land or by sea, I've noticed Margaritaville's properties are highly consistent.Brittany Chang/InsiderJimmy Buffett's hit "Margaritaville" song — which inspired this subsequent empire — shows listeners what life could be like while relaxing in a slow, warm weathered destination.Brittany Chang/InsiderAnd this laidback "lifestyle" is the same feeling the Margaritaville company has successfully recreated across its roughly 40 hotels, 70 restaurants and bars, and four RV resorts, among its other areas.The outside patio of the 5 O’Clock Somewhere bar.Brittany Chang/InsiderSource: Margaritaville, Margaritaville, MargaritavilleTravelers know exactly what to expect when they step into a Margaritaville property: the feeling of being at a kitschy beachside resort.Brittany Chang/InsiderIt's a world where "parrotheads," as Buffett fans affectionately call themselves, can rejoice in the tropical, laidback way of life Buffett often croons about.Brittany Chang/InsiderAnd while I didn't grow up listening to his music, I do understand why this undeniably fun branding has been so appealing to travelers.Brittany Chang/InsiderI visited my first Margaritaville property, its New York City hotel, in early 2021.Margaritaville Resort Times Square.Brittany Chang/InsiderAfter that first immersion, I knew exactly what to expect from all other Margaritaville concepts.The artwork inside Margaritaville Resort Times Square.Brittany Chang/InsiderEvery property I've since stayed at has felt like I was being thrown into Buffett's world of sponge cake and the promise that it's "five o'clock somewhere."Brittany Chang/InsiderThese aren't your typical unexciting hospitality concepts.Brittany Chang/InsiderInstead, picture kitschy tropical decor like towering sandals, palm trees, margaritas, and Buffett's lyrics painted on the walls.Brittany Chang/InsiderEven the New York City hotel, located in one of the city's busiest neighborhoods, had a shockingly easy going feel.Margaritaville Resort Times Square.Brittany Chang/InsiderThere were reminders of its location with fun Margaritaville twists sprinkled throughout the hotel …A room inside Margaritaville Resort Times Square.Brittany Chang/Insider… like the restaurant's Statue of Liberty replica holding a margarita glass.The Statue of Liberty recreation in the Margaritaville Restaurant.Brittany Chang/InsiderAnd while I wouldn't say it was a true tropical getaway — the car horns and sirens were difficult to ignore — the hotel did have painted blue skies …The two-floor Margaritaville Restaurant.Brittany Chang/Insider… nautical decor, Buffett lyrics on the walls …The two-floor Margaritaville Restaurant.Brittany Chang/Insider… and tropical plants that could never grow in Central Park …The two-floor Margaritaville Restaurant.Brittany Chang/Insider… creating a cheesy but respectable attempt at replicating a beachside getaway in the heart of Manhattan.Margaritaville Resort Times Square.Brittany Chang/Insider"When you walk in here, you're instantly transported to a different state," Kori Yoran, the general manager of Margaritaville Resort Times Square, told Insider in 2021. "If you don't look outside, you're like, 'oh, there's obviously a beach and water.'"The two-floor Margaritaville Restaurant.Brittany Chang/InsiderAlmost every Margaritaville concept I've since visited has used these same or similar design elements to convey the Buffett "lifestyle."Brittany Chang/InsiderThe only property that didn't feel like a pure Margaritaville concept was its then-recently acquired cruise ship.Brittany Chang/InsiderLike I said in my previous review, the lack of immersive decor held the vessel back from feeling like a true Buffett-branded ship.Brittany Chang/InsiderSource: InsiderAnd yet, it was still able to establish a connection to Margaritaville by keeping the name of its onboard amenities consistent with the brand.Brittany Chang/InsiderBesides the cohesive decor, the properties' all shared similarly named onsite amenities.Brittany Chang/InsiderAnd they all hearkened back to Buffett, acting like a de facto shrine for his music.The Landshark Bar and Grill.Brittany Chang/InsiderFans well-versed in Buffett's discography should know his 1979 song "Fins."Jimmy Buffett's Margaritaville at Universal CityWalk in Los Angeles in 2017.Robert Alexander/Getty ImagesOn the Margaritaville at Sea Paradise, the cruise ship had a Fins Dining concept.Brittany Chang/InsiderAt Camp Margaritaville Auburndale, "fins" came in the form of "Fins Up! Fitness" …Brittany Chang/Insider… while Camp Margaritaville Pigeon Forge had a Fins-branded bar, restaurant, breakfast buffet, and arcade.Brittany Chang/InsiderBoth the cruise and Margaritaville Times Square had a "5 o'clock Somewhere" bar or restaurant.The 5 O’Clock Somewhere bar.Brittany Chang/InsiderAnd while Times Square had a "License to Chill" bar …The License to Chill bar.Brittany Chang/Insider… the Auburndale RV resort had its "License to Chill" pool.A pool at Camp Margaritaville in Auburndale, Florida.Camp Margaritaville RV Resort and Cabana Cabins Auburndale, Central FloridaBoth RV resorts had "Barkaritaville" dog parks.Brittany Chang/InsiderThese are just a handful of amenities that were unabashedly named after Buffett's music. The full list would be too long for me to include here.Brittany Chang/InsiderSure, naming concepts after lyrics is a straightforward idea and (in theory) easy to execute at a large scale.Brittany Chang/InsiderBut this simple, somewhat arbitrary, and effective naming strategy brings these nostalgic songs to life, giving fans of the hospitality company a sense of consistency and comfort.Brittany Chang/InsiderFrom the two RV resorts, one cruise, and one hotel I visited, it's evident the company could teach a MasterClass about branding.Brittany Chang/InsiderIt does help that Margaritaville is associated with one of the US' most famous musicians.The Margaritaville Cafe and Store in Key West, FloridaChuck Wagner/ShutterstockBut its ability to turn the feeling fans have when they listen to Buffett into real-life concepts at such a large scale is, in my opinion, impressive.The License to Chill bar.Brittany Chang/InsiderTravelers who are loyal to the Margaritaville brand almost always know what they're going to get at its properties: relaxation, blue skies (even if painted), and the promise of booze.Brittany Chang/InsiderAnd while I don't know any lyrics to any Buffett songs, at least I know what to expect whenever I go to a new Margaritaville property.Brittany Chang/InsiderRead the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderNov 23rd, 2022

Transcript: Marcus Shaw

    The transcript from this week’s, MiB: Marcus Shaw, CEO of AltFinance, is below. You can stream and download our full conversation, including the podcast extras on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher, Google, YouTube, and Bloomberg. All of our earlier podcasts on your favorite pod hosts can be found here. ~~~ ANNOUNCER: This is Masters in… Read More The post Transcript: Marcus Shaw appeared first on The Big Picture.     The transcript from this week’s, MiB: Marcus Shaw, CEO of AltFinance, is below. You can stream and download our full conversation, including the podcast extras on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher, Google, YouTube, and Bloomberg. All of our earlier podcasts on your favorite pod hosts can be found here. ~~~ ANNOUNCER: This is Masters in Business with Barry Ritholtz on Bloomberg Radio. BARRY RITHOLTZ, HOST, MASTERS IN BUSINESS: This week on the podcast, I have another special guest. His name is Marcus Shaw. He has really a fascinating career and a focus these days. He really began as a traditional engineer/finance person working at IBM as a network engineer before he got his MBA at Duke. And from there, he did the usual research and investment banking gigs throughout a lot of Wall Street before the opportunity came to help entrepreneurs develop and grow their businesses in places like Alabama and Tennessee, which ultimately led him to participate in the founding of a new firm called AltFinance, which was created by really a group of, for lack of a better word, finance royalty. It’s Howard Marks of Oaktree Capital. It’s Tony Ressler of Ares, Marc Rowan of Apollo Global. These three gentlemen said we’re lacking the ability to tap into a very rich, diverse talent pool, including historically black colleges and universities. Venture capital, private equity, just were not recruiting for those spaces. And so they stood up a firm called AltFinance, whose main purpose was to help alternative asset managers tap into that rich pool of potential hires. Marcus Shaw works with them, and he’s the CEO of AltFinance. I found this to be really a fascinating conversation about how to access the most skilled partners and employees, what can be done to shake up a relatively staid industry that has lagged behind its peers in terms of recruiting and other things, and really how to help have a major impact in the world of finance. And I found this conversation to be fascinating and I think you will also. So with no further ado, my interview with Marcus Shaw. MARCUS SHAW, CEO & PRESIDENT, ALTFINANCE: Barry, thank you so much for inviting me. RITHOLTZ: I’m excited to chat with you. So let’s talk a little bit about Wall Street and diversity. Wall Street has been pretty bad at recruiting black talent. It’s been a stated objective for decades. Why is finance so bad at this? SHAW: Barry, I think that it’s a complex question that requires actually a complex solution and a multifaceted solution. I would say the most general issue here is that folks don’t have the networks and the access to careers in finance from across the country. Right? So if you grew up in New York, yeah, you’ll probably know some people that worked in the industry and you may have some relationships. You may go to school with somebody. Your parent may work there. And that’s whether you’re white or black. All right. But if you don’t, if you grew up in a market, where there’s not an investment bank, there’s nothing other than a branch bank for one of the multi-dimensional financials, then you’re not really going to have an understanding of what that career looks like at a young age. And so as you get ready to go to college, and you start thinking about what your career going to look like, it’s going to be primarily academic for you. And so I think that’s always a challenge that they’re not a ton of people that are in the seats, that are getting access to, in this case, black students from across the country. They’re giving them a look and this is what a career could look like for you. This is what an opportunity could look like for you. Here’s what the realm of possibilities is. And this primarily is how you get there, here’s a path to get there. That’s the biggest challenge. RITHOLTZ: So tell us about AltFinance, what is its mission? And why is this a better mousetrap than the way things have been done before? SHAW: So AltFinance is focused on building diversity in the alternative investment industry. RITHOLTZ: Alternatives being venture capital, private equity, anything else? SHAW: Private credit, real estate investing, hedge funds, everything kind of outside of traditional stock and bond investment, right, the things that are more private and market-driven often. And so our goal is to increase diversity in that space by working with partnerships at historically black colleges and universities, by providing students from HBCUs opportunities to have co-curricular programming, understanding, you know, exactly what you need to know to be successful in that role. Also to provide mentorship for students so that they’re not operating in a vacuum, so that when they have questions, there are people in the business, people that have experienced in the business that they can talk to. And also by working and partnering with schools to provide financial support to help increase capacity not only for students, but also for the institutions themselves. RITHOLTZ: So let’s talk a little bit about how AltFinance was initially funded and created. You have Howard Marks of Oaktree Capital, Marc Rowan of Apollo, Tony Ressler of Ares. These are like three heavy hitters at giant legendary firms. That’s a heady group to work with. What led them to say we need help accessing black talent, and we’re not getting it from anywhere else, we have to do it ourselves. SHAW: What I think all three gentlemen, you know, Howard, Marc, and Tony all recognize is that relationships help drive value. And so you got to have relationships with the schools and the places where there is a lot of black talent, and I think they saw HBCUs as an opportunity for that. I think what’s important, though, and what’s key is that we found ourselves at a very interesting point in time, in 2020, in the wake of George Floyd, in the middle of COVID. And so I think, everybody around the world, business leaders from across multiple industries were trying to think about how can we make the world a better place? How can we address racial equity in a way that’s specific to the businesses that we operate in? And I think that’s the key, right? This was not just about, you know, going out and being philanthropic, right, and making one time gifts. This was about how can you be strategic in building partnerships over the long term, that are going to have a systemic impact in the industry in which you operate. And that’s where I really think that the three firms led by, again, Howard, Tony, and Marc really found something that was special and something that was, you know, a better solution to a question that Wall Street has been dealing with for years. RITHOLTZ: So is it safe to say that Wall Street, in general, but alternatives like private equity and venture capital, were not recruiting at historically black colleges and universities? Was that void out there forever? SHAW: I think that it was not systemic, right? There was no systemic recruiting at HBCUs, in a way that was going to be sustainable, right? And I think that a lot of that was driven by needing to take some time and figure out how do we engage with these universities. We know we’ve got talent there. We’ve got density of talent, which is the important thing. And so I think giving us time to reflect on what had happened over the past few years was a really strong case for let’s go, let’s be direct and intentional. Let’s work with presidents of these universities. Let’s work with the deans, let’s work with the students to develop a strategy together, that’s going to rise the tide for everybody. RITHOLTZ: So I want to get into the details of what you guys actually do with students. But before I get there, you mentioned Tony, Howard and Marc, what led them to say, hey, let’s stand up some entity so we can set up an institution to correct just a recruiting shortfall we’ve had for years and years. Like that’s an unusual group of guys to get together and say “Let’s see if we can dent the universe a little bit.’ SHAW: Yeah. So I think there are two factors. Number one, and I think they both reflect strong leadership at the firms. Number one, you had, you know, somewhat of a groundswell from within the firm, certainly at leadership that said we need to figure out a way to do something. And I think as great leaders do, I think Howard and Tony and Marc were receptive to that. And also, it was perfect timing because they were thinking, how can we drive impact? How can we impact and affect change in our own way? And so it starts off with senior leaders at the firm and you know, these heads of industry working together to figure out, what can we do? Then you bring the relationships together. So Howard, Marc and Tony have known each other, but also many of their senior leaders have known each other as well. RITHOLTZ: Right, right. SHAW: And so the main thing that you have to do is say we want to take down any competitive barriers in which we operate during our standard business. And we recognize that what we’re trying to solve for is bigger than our individual company. It’s really about the industry. And if you can get to that point, which they did, very quickly, I mind you, then you can instantly start to put together something as powerful as AltFinance. And that happened, and it happened fairly quickly. But I think it took a lot of time and a lot of vulnerability, and a lot of transparency. And I think that’s really symbolic of what AltFinance represents. RITHOLTZ: So now let’s drill down a little bit and talk about what you exactly do with students. Do you guys provide coaching or mentorship? What do you do to help kids who probably aren’t all that familiar with what private credit is, and put them on a career path until alternative investments? SHAW: So there’s a framework that I use, I use it with entrepreneurs, I use it with talent anywhere I see it. First, you identify really good talent, right? Kids that have an interest in investing. Although they may not know the nuance of what investing asset class that they’re most interested in, or, you know, they’re young, they may not have the experience of understanding multi-cycles in the market, but they have an interest in investing. They have academic strength, right, some real intellectual rigor and horsepower. And so you look at kids that perform well, no matter what they do. You know, the kid can be a philosophy major, they can be a finance major, but they’re doing well in the pursuit that they’re following. And then we look for students that are coachable, right? RITHOLTZ: Coachable? SHAW: Coachable. Coachable is key. RITHOLTZ: Really? SHAW: It’s an apprentice model business. You know, there’s nobody that comes into this business, and comes in right out of college as a partner. Even if they’ve got all the resources in the world, nobody is going to come in as a partner. By and large, most people start this business as an analyst and they work with associates, and those associates working with VPs and principals, and managing directors and so forth. So you need people that are going to be willing to work through the apprenticeship model, that are willing to come in, you know, well compensated, a great network of people that they’re going to be around, but they’re still going to have to listen and be coached up in order to benefit the team in the company. And so we look for those things, people that have an interest in investing, people that have intellectual horsepower, and people that are coachable. RITHOLTZ: That’s really intriguing. So it’s not so much specific qualifications that are needed as qualities that will allow the students you select to succeed going forward? SHAW: Yeah. I think by and large, I mean, I would say that those qualities, you know, we recognize them through qualifications, right? So I look for people who have strong GPAs, and people that are taking some rigorous coursework, even if that coursework is not in finance. I look for people that have done extracurricular work, or you know, manage their own little portfolio, or have stock ideas or businesses ideas that they want to pitch. And then I look for people who also have references that say, “You know what, this young man, this young woman has been really coachable in the time that I’ve had them in school.” RITHOLTZ: So generally speaking, alternative assets, that’s a tough gig to get into regardless of where you go to school. Private equity, venture capital, hedge funds, real estate, down the whole list, not easy, how much harder is it to get into that space if you’re coming from an HBCU? SHAW: I think it can be difficult, and not because of anything that’s attributable to the student themselves. I think it can be difficult because no matter where you’re coming from, you need to know somebody to get into this business. And so the first key is how can you create networks that allow HBCU students to have mentors, to have advocates that are in the industry, that learn and know them well, know their strengths, know their weaknesses, know, you know, their ambition and their aspirations, and can speak to that and help guide them to certain careers inside of alternatives where they can be successful. RITHOLTZ: Really intriguing. Let’s talk a little bit about some of the work you’ve done, start with CEO of The Company Lab, what was CoLab’s mission and why Tennessee? SHAW: My wife and I decided to move to Tennessee back in 2016. She joined a practice down there and we had family in Tennessee, and it was really a unique opportunity to move around. We’ve moved around a bunch and have enjoyed all the different places that we lived in the country. Chattanooga is a fascinating city, really steeped in some rich history, but also a city that faces some challenges as they grow from a very small city to a more significant city in the U.S. economy. When I moved down there, I was still working with MLT, and then an opportunity came up to take a pretty significant role within the community as a CEO of The Company Lab. The Company Lab was the entrepreneurship and economic development center for Chattanooga and the surrounding areas, which include North Georgia, North Alabama, and Southeast Tennessee. It was incredible to really focus on local opportunities for entrepreneurs, for investors. for economic development, and really see how the fabric of a city with, you know, about a couple of hundred thousand people can develop, when you have people that are really dedicated to fostering that growth. RITHOLTZ: Was this like a private public partnership? Tell us a little bit about the structure of that. SHAW: It was a private public partnership. It was set up as a nonprofit that had some funding coming from the state, some funding coming from foundations, and then some funding coming from corporate entities that also found economic development in the region very important RITHOLTZ: What’s some of the economic sectors within that area? What is Chattanooga known for? SHAW: So Chattanooga is known for a couple of things, right? Key brands, number one, Coca-Cola Bottling is the company that really helped to jumpstart the city. And so Jack Lupton was kind of the patriarch of that company, and sold that company back to Coca-Cola in the mid-90s. RITHOLTZ: They were two separate companies for a while. SHAW: That’s right. So, yes, there were a number of bottling companies that would bottle Coca-Cola product and distribute it throughout the country or throughout the region. And the one in Chattanooga, Coca-Cola Bottling was one of the larger ones in the mid-century. Again, it was sold back to Coca-Cola as they consolidated those businesses, and left a pretty strong economic footprint in Chattanooga. Chattanooga was also the home of Moon Pie and Little Debbie, right? And a number of consumer products that are very familiar brands that we know about, but did not know that they were from Chattanooga. And so what I saw in Chattanooga was a rich history around entrepreneurship that necessarily hadn’t found its way into the modern day, right? We didn’t see a lot of great companies coming out of Chattanooga in the late ‘90s during the tech bubble, and so forth. RITHOLTZ: So what did you accomplish when you were there? Do you feel like you moved the needle at all? SHAW: Well, we moved the needle tremendously. You know, there were some companies that were there when I took the seat, companies like Bellhop, that’s a tremendous company and kind of operates in the Uber of moving, right. So you have fantastic moving company and a fantastic culture. There was a company FreightWaves that has done fantastic work. People kind of equate it to the Bloomberg of trucking. And so they’ve got a — RITHOLTZ: FreightWaves? SHAW: FreightWaves. FreightWaves. RITHOLTZ: W-A-V-E-S? SHAW: That’s correct. And Craig Fuller who’s the founder and CEO down there was a good friend, but also a really strong business person who’s done some great work. We brought Steve Case in Rise of the Rest to Chattanooga. RITHOLTZ: Sure. SHAW: And FreightWaves was actually the investment that they made in Chattanooga, and has done great work. The company has grown. They’ve employed hundreds of people with meaningful salaries. And that’s what it takes to move the needle in a place like Chattanooga, and there are hundreds of cities like that around the country. RITHOLTZ: So how do you go from Tennessee to Alabama at the Montgomery TechLab? SHAW: So as I was leaving CoLab, in Tennessee, I saw what was going on in Montgomery, and I saw that Montgomery had great leadership. The mayor down there, Steven Reed, has done a fantastic job in Montgomery. I also saw that they had some really unique assets. They’ve got a fantastic Air Force installation down there. They’ve got the state capitol there in Montgomery. They got a really diverse population. And so what I really did was take the thesis that we were working with in Chattanooga, and adjust it so that it applied to Montgomery. And so in a couple of years down there, we’ve been able to bring some really incredible companies to Montgomery, to see the type of value that they have there. But we’ve also, in this most recent cohort, and the team down has done an incredible job, helped grow companies that are there in Montgomery, focusing on tech solutions and tech services, to help them expand and recognize assets even outside of the region. RITHOLTZ: So you mentioned tech, I tend to think of the West Coast as the, you know, center of tech in the U.S. The Northeast is the center of finance. The Southeast, how should we think about that in terms of the business sectors that they should be known for? SHAW: So I think there are a couple of things. Number one, manufacturing has been strong in the Southeast for a number of years. RITHOLTZ: A lot of car companies really, right? SHAW: A lot of car companies. There’s a lot of pro-business environment for companies with big labor forces in the Southeast. You’re able to operate at a more efficient standard of living in terms of cost. And so you see a lot of car manufacturers operating down there. Also, transportation and logistics, Chattanooga was probably one of the biggest hubs for transportation logistics in the country. Anything that’s coming through the Southeast via truck is coming through either 81 or 75 or 24. All of that comes through Chattanooga. And so that was something that we saw. You’ve got companies like U.S. Xpress and Covenant that operate in Chattanooga. RITHOLTZ: Didn’t FedEx or UPS have a big logistics center? SHAW: So FedEx is out in Memphis, Tennessee, so on the other side of the state. But those trucks, again, will all come through Chattanooga. And so when you think about, you know, the south and you think about industries that are moving, it continues to be manufacturing and logistics. Also, healthcare is really popping up. Nashville and Atlanta are two very large healthcare hubs. Some of that is due, unfortunately, to demand, right, where you have health outcomes that are probably a little more severe in some of the Southeastern states in the United States. And so you need strong healthcare to meet the needs of the population. RITHOLTZ: It’s interesting we’re talking about different parts of the country. A lot of the bigger firms want to see the end of remote work or hybrid work. But I would imagine that that creates opportunities for parts of the country like Chattanooga, and Nashville, and Montgomery, where there are a lot of big companies that may not be located there, but they want to tap the pool of talent that’s there. SHAW: So we’ve seen that, and talking with leaders in a number of cities throughout the south, and even throughout other areas in the middle of the country that have not traditionally had the type of talent there, or the draw to those cities. You definitely saw a surge of people, I would say, during the COVID period, that were moving to cities where there was a lower cost of living, but a strong quality of living, and they could work remote. And so I think there’s been a benefit to those cities, and that you’re getting people that are moving. You know, Nashville had a ton of people that were moving to Nashville primarily from California, and that really strengthened the work or the labor force in Nashville. What you do see on the other side of the coin, though, is that for companies that are there locally, it can be a detriment because you have people that are there in the city and may take jobs outside of the region instead of taking jobs there in the region. And so there’s a delicate balance, right, to the impact, particularly for small to mid-size markets, where you have a labor force that’s needed in the market, that’s finding opportunities outside of the market, even if they continue to live. RITHOLTZ: Let’s spend a little time going over some of your history. Your family is from Mississippi, but you grew up a little bit of a military brat? Tell us about those experiences. SHAW: Yes. So my dad is actually from Mississippi. My mom was from North Carolina. My dad was a naval officer who retired shortly before I was born. So I spent most of my time growing up in Maryland, right outside of D.C. RITHOLTZ: So you didn’t do the whole army brat travel around the country? SHAW: I didn’t do that. But I did hang out on military bases a lot. So all my friends would change every three years when they PCS, right. So I had kind of the opposite side of the travel, which is being the friend that was always left behind. RITHOLTZ: Right. That’s really intriguing. What did your dad retire from doing? What was his — SHAW: So my dad had two careers in his life. He grew up in Mississippi. He’s picking cotton, believe it or not, when he was 7 years old. He was born in 1929. RITHOLTZ: Seven? SHAW: 7 years old. Right. RITHOLTZ: Wow. SHAW: We talk about skipping generations. He went into the Navy in 1945, and spent 27 years in the Navy. He retired and went to work at the Library of Congress as personnel. He was able to get his undergrad, master’s, PhD all through the GI Bill while he was in the Navy. RITHOLTZ: Wow. SHAW: But I always say my father is a real hero of mine because he truly did skip three generations in one lifetime. RITHOLTZ: Wow. That’s really impressive. Was mom working? Was she a homemaker? SHAW: My mother was a 50-year school teacher and taught public school in D.C. for 50 years — RITHOLTZ: 50. Wow. SHAW: — and really was an inspiration for the way I think about learning and understanding the value of education. RITHOLTZ: So let’s talk a little bit about education. You went to Sidwell Friends School, that’s some rarefied company, isn’t it? SHAW: There’s some good people that have gone there. RITHOLTZ: Yeah. Who did you go to school with? Any famous names that you know of? SHAW: Marcus Shaw is one. But, no, I had great, great folks in my class. Baratunde Thurston, who you may have heard of, author and producer that spent time with The Daily Show; Jon Bernthal who’s a great actor; Tommy Kail who was the director of Hamilton and some other big plays. RITHOLTZ: Wow. SHAW: But you know, everybody in our class was phenomenal. Also, folks like Chelsea Clinton, and later, the Obama girls went to Sidwell. So some rarefied air indeed, but a great group of students and a great group of friends. RITHOLTZ: So you go from there to get a mathematics degree from Morehouse College, then onto Georgia Tech for an electrical engineering degree, with little football mixed in. Tell us a little bit about your academic career in college. SHAW: So when I went to Morehouse, I was excited. I went down there with a few friends. It was a great mix to be able to go to a school, like Sidwell, and then go to an HBCU as esteemed as Morehouse was. It was really a great opportunity for me to have a bunch of different experiences. My story around playing football is probably my great interview story. I was playing cards with a bunch of guys right at the beginning of the school year, and made a bet that I could kick a 50-yard field goal. So we go out on the field, we jumped the fence, I lined up, take about 20 steps back, kick a field goal from 50 yards. One of the coaches comes out and yells at us to get off the field. We’re trespassing. As we’re leaving, he tells me to come out to the walk-on tryouts at the end of the week. RITHOLTZ: How close did you come to a 50-yard field goal? SHAW: Oh, I knocked it down. RITHOLTZ: No kidding. SHAW: I made it, man. He didn’t want me to come out because I missed it. He wanted me to come out because I made it. And you know, I went on to play four years in Morehouse and had some strong accolades there. But really, even that experience was about building great friends that I played football with. And many of those gentlemen have gone on to do incredible things as well. RITHOLTZ: Why is it not surprising that a math nerd is also a placekicker? It seems to be like the field goal seems to be one of the most mathematical parts of football. SHAW: Well, it’s pure geometry. RITHOLTZ: Right. SHAW: So 1.3 seconds from the snapper to putting the ball down and getting the ball off the ground, the angle that has got to come up, you know, is pretty significant in terms of your probability of making it. So I looked at it as an exercise in physics, geometry, you know, a little bit of chemistry, depending on the texture of the football. So I thought I was a natural. RITHOLTZ: That’s really intriguing. And then you go on, get your master’s at Duke School of Business. What led you in that direction, given the mathematics and electrical engineering undergraduate? SHAW: So I went to IBM after completing my undergrad degree at Georgia Tech in electrical engineering. I had a great time there, learned a lot, but really wanted to understand the way that we were selling business, right, understanding more about the business of IBM, and how we thought about the products and services that I was delivering as an engineer. Not to mention one of my, you know, very good friends that played football with me in Morehouse, was a year ahead of me in business school, he said, “You’re pretty smart, you should check out business school.” And fortunately enough, I had a great school in Duke that was right there in Durham. My wife was in med school at UNC. And I didn’t have to move to go to a great business school, which was really refreshing. And it was a great experience, and I learned a lot about business there and kicked off a new career. RITHOLTZ: From there, you ended up going into a decade of equity research and investment banking at shops like Bank of America, Piedmont, others. What led to that aspect of finance? SHAW: So I always tell folks this is one of the great turning points in my life. When I went to business school, I was pretty confident that I was going to come out of business school and go back to IBM. I was going to stay an engineer, wanted to learn more about marketing and you know, some operations around technology. There was a point right before the start of my first year in business school, so this is 2003, I had an opportunity to go to a camp, two-day camp at Goldman, that was focused on providing insights in investment careers for people that did not have an investment background. And you know, they fly you up, you’re a smart kid, put you up in a nice hotel. And I met a woman who covered enterprise software at Goldman, and she gave me really great insight into how I could leverage the industry knowledge that I had developed at IBM. And so, really, it was one person on an off-conversation, you know, down on Broad Street, 20-plus years ago, that led to my career. She said, “Equity research is a great place where if you know a lot about the business, and you learn a lot about finance, you can be impactful. You can earn a good living. You can really understand the markets and meet great people.” RITHOLTZ: As opposed to the opposite which is knowing a lot about finance, and then having to learn a whole industry from the outside, it’s a very different perspective than starting with the industry knowledge from the inside. SHAW: That’s right. And that perspective is something that I think we’ve got to learn to embrace more because, you know, finance is challenging, but it’s not difficult, right? It requires putting in work and getting reps in order to start to understand patterns and be able to anticipate things that you will see in the market, or things that you’ll see at a company. But really understanding the core of industry is what makes a master of business, right? I mean, that’s how you really start to hone the skills that you need in order to make true alpha out in the market as an investor. RITHOLTZ: So tell us what you did it at shops like Bank of America, what was your focus? SHAW: So I covered telecom services at Bank of America. During my time at IBM, I worked on several telecom networking projects and really understood the industry, things like spectrum and things like wireless that were coming of age at that time, I understood pretty deeply. And you know, through my understanding of finance, I was able to say, these are businesses that I think will do well. these are businesses that are positioned to do well. And once the market understands that, the stocks will perform. I had great mentors at Bank of America, a great team that I worked with, and really set me up for a great start in finance. RITHOLTZ: So you have a little bit of a health scare when you’re relatively young, and it changes your career trajectory. Tell us what led you to stepping off of the merry-go-round? SHAW: Yeah. Barry, it’s an incredible story and one that I think also defines a lot of where my life has led. So you know, I was at a firm in D.C. and covering tech media telecom, a bunch of regulated industries as well, and was having some chest pain. And a bunch of traders had, you know, what we call walking pneumonia, but it takes everything to get a trader off the desk, right? I mean, the whole desk will get pneumonia before they leave. And I was pretty sure that’s what I had and was coughing for a few days, and had some pain in my chest, go to the hospital. They take an X-ray. They see that I’ve got some swelling and a little bit of cloudiness there in my lungs, and they gave me a Z-Pak, an antibiotic. They think that I might have had pneumonia. My wife who’s a physician, as I shared with you before, you know, comes to the hospital, to the emergency room. She asked me what they said, I said, you know, as an equity research guy, I think I know it all, “I’ve gotten pneumonia. You know, they saw it on the X-ray.” What I didn’t– RITHOLTZ: It’s like, “Let me see those films.” SHAW: She’s like, “Let me see what’s going on.” Exactly. RITHOLTZ: She didn’t buy it? SHAW: Well, she didn’t buy it because she’s a doctor and she’s very good at her job. Like, I say all the time. I’ve got a great wife, but I got the best doctor that anybody could have in their house. I had some leg pain earlier in the week. RITHOLTZ: Left side? SHAW: Yeah, left side. RITHOLTZ: Ooh. SHAW: So we know where this is going, right, Barry? RITHOLTZ: All right. Yeah, you can just ignore that. That will sort itself out. SHAW: I thought it was a charley horse. RITHOLTZ: Really? SHAW: I played a little basketball with buddies. This was right at the end of a Thanksgiving holiday. And I got a group of buddies, lifelong friends, we always play basketball together. And I thought it was a charley horse. Pain in the leg went away. A couple of days later, I’m having this pain in my chest and I take myself to the hospital. She goes, “Did you tell them about your leg?” And I said, “No.” She goes into the head of the emergency room’s office. RITHOLTZ: Really? SHAW: The guy comes back out and he says, “How come you didn’t tell me about your leg?” I said, “Well, my leg doesn’t hurt anymore. It’s my chest. I got pneumonia. That’s what X-ray said.” This is where equity research guys talk themselves into a hole. They think they know more than they do. RITHOLTZ: Right. SHAW: I know a lot about telecom. I know nothing about healthcare. All right. So the guy comes out and he says, “Well, we got to give you what we call a D-dimer.” Right. There’s a test for blood clots essentially. RITHOLTZ: Right. SHAW: They do the tests. I am at this point, the second sickest person, highest priority in the emergency room. RITHOLTZ: Wow. SHAW: They rolled me in. They gave me an MRI. They see the blood clots in my lungs. They see some remnants in my leg. I’m immediately, you know, brought into the hospital and I’m there for several days. They gave me blood thinner. They want to make sure that these clots don’t — RITHOLTZ: So no bypass or anything crazy like that? SHAW: No, no, no, no, no. So what I had was a blood clot, right? So I did not have a heart attack. I’m in the stroke center there at the hospital in D.C. And for me, it was really a point where you start thinking about your life in a different way. RITHOLTZ: It had to be terrifying when your wife comes in and the head of the ER says, “Stat. Let’s get this guy taken care of immediately.” SHAW: It is, but not as scary until you realize what’s really happening. And that, you know, there’s things that they call the widow-makers, which are these bilateral blood clots that you get across the aortic valve. And I mean, you just go away. RITHOLTZ: You’re done. Right. SHAW: You’re done. Right? As somebody that kind of steeped in mathematics, probabilities, investment, you’re always thinking about the future. And you know, my great story from that is that I actually upgraded a stock Pandora Media from the ICU in the hospital. RITHOLTZ: I bet they loved that. SHAW: Yeah. To which my wife responded, you know, “If you die writing a research report, I’ll kill you.” Right. So this is where you start putting it together, you put a little bit of life together, and you start thinking like an investor, and you start investing in yourself and thinking about, you know, how are you going to measure the return in your life? And for me, I’ve done well as an analyst. You know, we did well. And I said I really I want to find ways that I can impact and help others with the years that I have left because it could have gone away right then in there. RITHOLTZ: So is that what led to Management Leadership for Tomorrow, and then AltFinance? Tell us about what took place when you got out of the hospital? SHAW: Yeah. So got out of the hospital, stuck around for a few more months at the firm that I was working. And then decided to do some other things, and that included doing some work with small- to medium-sized businesses, providing some outsourced CFO type of service, to really understand how some of these small businesses worked. An organization that I looked at doing some work with was Management Leadership for Tomorrow. And John Rice and the team at MLT do a great job. They have absolutely moved the needle and changed the trajectory for thousands of Black, Latino and Native American students over 20-plus years. I knew John a little bit and knew about the work that he had done. I had written recommendations for mentees of mine into that program. And John asked me to come out and you know, “Can you help raise some money, right, running business development?” And for me, that was a step away from the industry. And what I recognized is I got tremendous fulfillment out of seeing young people that were, you know, 10, 20 years younger than myself, but helping them get to the next level, helping give them the opportunities that that woman gave me from Goldman, when she said, “Here’s the path you should think about taking.” RITHOLTZ: Quite interesting. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) RITHOLTZ: I’m Barry Ritholtz. You’re listening to Masters in Business on Bloomberg Radio. We’re talking to Marcus Shaw. He is the CEO of AltFinance, a firm which seeks to increase diversity across alternative asset management firms. So we’ve been talking earlier about the lack of recruiting and the lack of diversity, historically, on Wall Street. But let’s talk about the other side. You often speak to groups of smart college kids, and you ask them, hey, what do you guys know about private equity, or credit, or venture capital? What sort of answer do you get when you ask those college students those questions? SHAW: So the most interesting thing that I’ve seen in assessing college students and talking to them is that students generally have very little knowledge of the companies that are operating in the private equity, private credit markets, real estate. They know some of the venture capital firms because I think venture capital has done a great job of a PR over the past 10 years or so. I mean, everybody wants to be a venture capitalist and an entrepreneur. I always attribute that to a low interest rate environment where — RITHOLTZ: Oh, no, go back to the 1990s when venture capitalists were rock stars also. SHAW: That’s right. That’s right. Well, also, though, you know, a period there where you had the Fed being a little accommodative, right? I think that by nature and by design, many of the firms that operate in private equity and private credit space don’t want to be known. But our students know many of the holding companies, right. And that’s what’s really interesting, that they know the publicly-traded companies, they know the private companies, but they don’t know the holding companies for the private companies. RITHOLTZ: You use the example, and I think it’s fascinating, Rihanna partnered with a private equity firm for her fashion line. The students know who Rihanna is and they know how wildly successful she’s become, but they don’t know who the financers are. SHAW: That’s right. That’s right. RITHOLTZ: And how do you get them to look behind the curtain and/or under the hood and see that capitalist is what’s driving the business? SHAW: I think the key to that, and we check for this when we’re interviewing students for our program, is intellectual curiosity, right? That’s the key to being an investor. Are you always thinking about peeling back another layer to the onion? You go in a store; you see a great product. Hmm, where is that product made? Who’s the company that owns that? Is there’s several different pieces to the product? Where are they getting the components from? Where are they sourcing them from? Who owns that company? Who finances those companies? That’s the way we’re teaching students to think because that brings about the type of intellectual curiosity that you need to have when ultimately, you want to put some capital behind a company that you really like. RITHOLTZ: So let’s go back to first principles. Why are companies interested in diversity? What’s in it for them? SHAW: So I think there are a number of reasons why companies are and should be interested in diversity. We have hundred million students out here, coming through, you know, K through 12, and university system that are operating at a higher level than we were 20 years ago. Students are very smart, independent of their color, their background, their religion, their gender orientation, right? What we know is that students are being educated at tremendous levels today. They have so much more access, that their intellectual curiosity is going to be really fueled by a lot more information that’s delivered in a more equitable way. If I’m hiring for talent, I want access to all of that. I want to know the brightest kid from every corner of the country, boy, girl, gay, straight, black, white, it doesn’t matter. I want to know that student because that student can help me. That student can help me build and invest, and find opportunities and generate alpha, and bring more clients into my business. And so if I’m a senior leader at a company, I think that’s the business operative, right? I’ve got to have the brightest talent, the talent that’s most differentiated and intelligent, and also helpful. I think the social part of this is that, you know, a lot of these dollars are public dollars, that companies are managing. My mother, again, a 50-year school teacher who put money into her retirement for 50 years. It would benefit her, and it would benefit the other teachers and firefighters and police officers that represent diverse communities, to have people who are investing their money look like them as well, RITHOLTZ: Really interesting. So this is more than just a checkbox on any list. Companies are actually looking to expand their diversity and inclusion practices because they see a genuine benefit to both their decision-making process and their businesses. SHAW: I think that’s the obvious answer. And that’s why with AltFinance, you know, this is a long-term plan. We’ve got a 10-year commitment from our three initial partner firms. And so this is not about checking the box; this is about changing the paradigm for recruiting talent in this industry. RITHOLTZ: So this industry has been notoriously laggard when it comes to diversity. But there are lots of other industries, technology has been accused of having a diversity issue. Medicine, law, pretty much wherever you look, United States has its own history, with some of its dark pockets. What other sectors could benefit from an organization like AltFinance, or what else can we focus on? SHAW: Yeah. I think there are a number of sectors that could benefit from this strategy, even sectors like tech that have already developed some strategies. I think, again, we’re focused around education, exposure and experience, the three elements that are going in to preparing students for careers. This is not just about scholarships, right? You give a student a scholarship, but then you don’t really give them access to the people at your firm that are going to help that student not only get a job at that firm, but feel a sense of belonging, right, once they get to that firm, so that they maximize their individual output. That’s what you’re trying to go for. Right? I’ll tell you a story about a student. So we have a student in our program. And when you talk about counseling and coaching, it was a phenomenal story. A student, very bright student who had the ability to graduate in three years, and worked last summer at a fairly reputable consulting company. And I asked the student, I said, “Why are you in a hurry to graduate? You students got a pretty good scholarship package.” Student comes from a background where, you know, he’s having to support family still at home. I mean, you know, a tough situation, and he wanted to get out in the workplace where he can earn. I said, “Trust me, if you stay for your full four years, you’ll have the opportunity through this program, to get access to a career in alternatives. You had a great opportunity last summer. You’ll come out. You could make 2x, even 3x if you stay and pursue this opportunity in alternatives.” So the young man stayed, had multiple opportunities, selected one. But here’s the real power of the network. As he’s making his decision to which role he’s going to take and you know, at one of three mega funds, he calls up his mentor who is not at one of the firms that he has an offer from. And he says, “Well, what do you think I should do?” In the course of that conversation, not only does he get guidance from the mentor, the mentor connects him with another gentleman who used to work at one of the firms, in the same group that he was going to. Now, he has a decision that he’s made, that’s been informed by two people that he did not know a year ago. That’s the dinner table. RITHOLTZ: And we will take those conversations for granted if specially someone grown up in a New York area, where you know people who work in finance or people’s parents were in finance, that network just doesn’t develop elsewhere without focused exposure to it. SHAW: That’s right. RITHOLTZ: That’s really intriguing. So you’re at Bank of America a decade ago. You had some important teams you worked with, and you led some groups. How do you see Wall Street having changed over the past 10 or 20 years? Were the signs on the road that things were getting better? Were they ripe for moving in the right direction? Or is Wall Street just calcified and needed to really be shaken up? SHAW: Well, Barry, I think that question really highlights something that’s amazing to me. Number one, that I’ve been in this business, you know, a long time. RITHOLTZ: It goes by quick, doesn’t it? SHAW: It goes by very fast. And number two, how much things change, you know, in a fairly short amount of time. You know, when I started my career in finance, I was the only black person in my group, in my division. Okay. Another young woman came shortly after. We had a great relationship. In fact, she’s been a lifelong friend. And I, you know, was a mentor to her. And — RITHOLTZ: Was that something that was very consistent? You were the only black guy working at the other shops you worked at, or at least the only person in the department? SHAW: Well, for a couple of firms. I also did work at a minority-owned firm down in North Carolina, and it was refreshing. I mean, actually, you know, some of the brightest people that I ever worked with, and much of my investment philosophy and the thesis, the way I think about investing was developed there, amongst an incredibly diverse group of investors who had, you know, tremendous experience and success. RITHOLTZ: Really intriguing. So given that you were at some big firms early 2010s, you know, what was it that led Wall Street to finally being ripe to accept changes? SHAW: I think there is an inevitable pressure from society that helps drive change. And I think Wall Street, while we talk about it, in this compartmentalized concept of its Wall Street. It’s in New York. It’s, you know, the bull down on Wall Street, right? And it’s the movies that we see. In reality, the funds that Wall Street is managing, the capital that it’s managing is coming from all over the country. RITHOLTZ: Right. SHAW: It’s coming from people that look like me. It’s coming from people that look like you. It’s coming from people that look like our parents and our children. So at the end of the day, and I think we saw this in 2008, I think we saw it again during COVID, that at the end of the day, these companies are accountable to the people, right, and to the people that are their investors, their LPs, and entities that their LPs represent, and their clients. And so I think that what we’ve evolved into is a more human Wall Street that is more inclusive by nature. And I do believe that what we’re seeing now, right, we will continue to see because we’ll have people that come through AltFinance, but also people more senior that are at the table and helping make decisions on where and how we invest in people, and where and how we invest in companies. RITHOLTZ: So that leads me to a pretty straightforward question, which is, first, how do you measure your own success with AltFinance? And second, how to people like Oaktree, Apollo, and Ares, how did they ask you to track your progress? What metrics do they look at, to say, hey, we’re getting our money’s worth for standing up this company and giving them a decade long horizon? SHAW: So I’ll address the latter first, right. Number one, so I came in in September. We started our first cohort of our fellowship in January. We now have the second cohort. I’ve got 75 students from HBCUs that are now building relationships, getting education, getting exposure, and ultimately getting experience to the alternative investment industry. That is fascinating. We’ve got students in our program that have their first full time offer with alternative investment firms, that will graduate in 2023, in May. So we’re already in a few months really hitting the cover off the ball. That’s the quantitative element, right? Those are the KPIs up on the dashboard that are saying, you know, how many students are you getting to exposure to these jobs? How many students are getting these jobs? What I also measure and this is through the conversation with students, how many students are building confidence, skills, and relationships that will help improve their wealth and economic mobility as they grow? How many students are having a conversation around the learning session that we do on interest rates, and then calling mom or dad at home and saying, “You know what, you know, what’s the interest rate on your credit card? Did you refi your house? How should I think about my student loans?” Right. They are really taking an active position in the way that they think about their personal finance, but also the way they think about investing. And I hear those conversations and have those conversations with students almost on a daily basis, and that’s what fulfills me and lets me know we’re moving in the right direction. When I look down the road in 10 years, I believe that I will have hundreds of students that are actively working in alternative investments, but I’ll have thousands that are knowledgeable and have relationships with people in this business, and are better off for it. RITHOLTZ: So we’ve been talking a lot about alt investments. Are there parallel entities to AltFinance for traditional asset management, investing banking, stocks, bonds, IPOs, et cetera? It seems like there should be something similar to what you’re doing for that space as well, which arguably, is even bigger than AltFinance. SHAW: So I think there are some organizations that have, you know, been active and providing similar opportunities for students for traditional banking, right. I mean, when you think about what Reginald Lewis did, you know, almost 30 years ago, and breaking grounds for blacks in investment banking. I think that we’re doing some of that today in the alternative space. Remember, we had our first group of fellows. We had 33 fellows in our first cohort. RITHOLTZ: What year was that? SHAW: So this is January of 2022. This is just, you know, a few months ago, right? And I asked the students, all right, how many of you know Morgan Stanley, Goldman, Citigroup? Everybody raises their hand. They all know it. They see the commercials. They get the commercials on the Internet. I asked, how many of you know Ares, Apollo, or Oaktree? One student, so roughly 3%. These students are brilliant, all high performers, all strong academic performers. I mean, they will not fail to get a job. They could get a job doing anything. But they did not have the awareness of how the pathway to enter one of the most rewarding careers in investing. RITHOLTZ: Really? SHAW: And that’s a key. And so when I look at other industries, and what other organizations are doing, we are squarely focused on helping move the needle in the alternative investment space, places where people can help do deals, be long-term owners. It’s not about, you know, the transactional element of investment banking, right? Be an owner, a direct owner of a brand that you know, but you never knew who the holding company was. I have 75 students now that can answer that question of what’s the pathway. RITHOLTZ: How much larger can you expand this to be? SHAW: So Barry, we will expand the fellowship program ultimately to be round 100 or 120 students, and you know, each year, about 40 or so in each class. We are also partnering with the Wharton School of University of Pennsylvania to develop an institute, the Wharton AltFinance Institute, which will be an online community and platform providing, again, curriculum and content and community, as well as resources to help students at any HBCU gain access to again education, exposure, and opportunities for experience in the space. And so through the institute, we’ll be able to scale some of the best parts of our fellowship, which is a real high touch part of our programming. But we will scale that to the students that are at HBCUs that we don’t partner with directly. RITHOLTZ: Really, really quite fascinating. I know I only have you for a couple of minutes more. So before I let you go, I want to ask the standard questions that I ask all of my guests, starting with, what have you been streaming these days? What’s been keeping you entertained post lockdown? SHAW: Yeah. So Barry, I would say I tend to read a lot and follow a lot obviously in news channels on finance. On podcasts, I mean, I love Howard Marks, The Memo, and I read his memos that he puts out. But I love what he’s doing in the podcast format that he’s developed. But I listened to a lot of sports. I’m a huge Jalen & Jacoby fan. I love what those guys are doing in terms of sports and entertainment. And so, you know, probably not as heavy as some of the other answers you get. But I love sports talk radio. RITHOLTZ: That’s interesting. Tell us about some of your early mentors who helped shape your career. SHAW: So, you know, a couple of the mentors that I had, there was a woman named Stacy Gorin who hired me actually at IBM. And it’s amazing to think this is over 20 years ago. Stacy was a long-term executive at IBM and has now moved to a consulting firm. But what she really helped me focus on early in my career was continuous improvement, right. You think about it as an engineer a lot, right, kind of the Kaizen principle, right, that Toyota use. But personal improvement of yourself, right, how do you continue to develop as a person? If you’re strong technically, how do you develop into a person that people feel comfortable managing others, and feel comfortable being managed by. And so as I developed into an executive and then CEO, I always reflect on those lessons that she gave me early on, about being vulnerable, and being coachable, even being coached up, right. So having somebody that reports to you have the ability to coach you up on things where you can be more helpful for your organization. RITHOLTZ: You mentioned books and you like to do a lot of reading, tell us what some of your favorites are and what are you reading right now. SHAW: Yeah. So you know, a book that I go to often and I reread this probably once every couple of years is Peter Bernstein’s “Against the Gods.” RITHOLTZ: So good. SHAW: It’s fascinating to think about this concept of risk, and how it’s affected us since the very beginning of time, right. And then, really how we have taken risk from something that was deified, right, kind of this religious concept, and turned it into an economic tool that we can arbitrage for personal gain. Unbelievable, well written, I love the historical context and bringing into the future. And so that’s one that I go to often. I’ll tell you a book that I want to pick up and the title here is John Mack’s new book. And I thought it’s interesting because, you know, John is somebody that I don’t know, personally, but I’ve always respected kind of the way that he organized and ran businesses. And you know, it’s of note that he’s dealing — you know, I think has talked publicly about the aging process that he is going through himself. And I found that particularly endearing because it’s something that I’ve dealt within my family. And to recognize that, you know, in this business, we’re still human and we’re not excluded from the human process. And so that’s the book, John Mack’s new book is one that I certainly want to pick up. RITHOLTZ: “Up Close and All In: Life Lessons from a Wall Street Warrior” is that it? SHAW: That is it. That is it. RITHOLTZ: Yeah. That’s a hell of a title. SHAW: Hell of a guy. RITHOLTZ: This is kind of a funny question because I ask this to everybody, but essentially, I’m asking you a question which is what AltFinance does, but I’ll ask it anyway. What advice do you give to a recent college grad who was interested in the career in either investments or alternative finance? SHAW: So there are two things that I tell all of our students. Number one is bigger picture and probably pretty simple, you’ve got to have intellectual curiosity. You can never run out of questions. I mean, you run incredible podcasts. You can never run out of questions. You’ve always got to have something that you’re thinking about in terms of what’s the next layer. How can I think about in a different perspective? How can I put myself in somebody else’s shoes and think about it? And how does that change the value of what I’m looking at? Right? I think that’s critical to being successful as an investor. Number two is something that somebody shared with me and that’s actually John Rice who runs MLT and is a partner and a great friend, and really one of the great leaders in the D&I space. When you’re young and you’re bright, you’ve got to take risk early in your career. And in fact, not taking risk is actually the riskiest thing you can do. It’s a little bit of a parable, right? But — RITHOLTZ: When you’re young, you can recover from failure. You don’t have that same luxury when you’re older. SHAW: It’s so hard to appreciate that when you’re, you know, 20 or 21. When you’re — RITHOLTZ: You’re afraid of failure. SHAW: When you’re afraid of failure, when you should actually be seeking failure. Right? You should not be doing anything when you’re 22 or 20 or 21 that you can’t fail it. RITHOLTZ: Right. Playing it safe is risky. SHAW: It is risky. RITHOLTZ: That’s really interesting. And our final question, what do you know about the world of investing and AltFinance today you wish you knew 20 or so years ago when you were really exploring the field in its earliest days? SHAW: So the biggest thing I would say procedurally that I see in the investment hiring cycle is that you got to be ready for the gig before you get it, which means that the recruiting process for alternative investment, even if you’re going to investment banking as an analyst, it may start before you actually start that job. There may be people that are reaching out to you, trying to assess your interest, and what you’re going to do after banking. And that was, you know, I say, one of the secrets of the industry that, you know, I was well into my career before I knew that’s how people were getting recruited into the industry. And so you got to have your ear to the ground, right? You got to know who’s who, where the players are, who you should be expecting emails and calls from. And when you get those emails and calls, you got to be ready for it. RITHOLTZ: Really interesting answer. We have been speaking to Marcus Shaw, CEO of AltFinance. If you enjoy this conversation, well, be sure and check out any of the previous 400 or so we’ve done over the past eight and a half years. You can find those at iTunes, Spotify, YouTube, wherever you get your podcasts from. We love your comments, feedback and suggestions. Write to us at mibpodcast@bloomberg.net. Sign up for my daily reading list at ritholtz.com. Follow me on Twitter @ritholtz. I would be remiss if I did not thank the crack team that helps put this conversation together each week. Justin Milner is my audio engineer. Atika Valbrun is our project manager. Paris Wald is my producer. Sean Russo is my researcher. I’m Barry Ritholtz. You’ve been listening to Masters in Business on Bloomberg Radio. END ~~~   The post Transcript: Marcus Shaw appeared first on The Big Picture......»»

Category: blogSource: TheBigPictureNov 22nd, 2022