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State of the Globe, Part 4:
On Global Business

How did business leaders weather the global economic downturn?

January 2, 2003

How did business leaders weather the global economic downturn?

It is one thing if the global economy is going through a rough patch due to cyclical pressures. It is quite another matter if a much needed economic recovery is made harder due to widespread systematic — and personal — failures of global business leaders. The fourth installment of our “State of the Globe” series examines what is at stake.

How has 2002 changed the way we look at companies?

“Profit is only an opinion — but cash is fact.”

(Lee Hsien Yang, CEO of Singapore Telecommunications, on accounting practices)

Did 2002 affect trust in the stock market?

“Why is a person who handles your money called a broker?”

(Oscar Schafer, money manager)

How did the business world change in the new millennium?

"It is not that humans have become any more greedy than in generations past. It is that the avenues to express greed have grown so enormously."

(Alan Greenspan, Chairman of the U.S. Federal Reserve, on overpaid CEOs)

Why have so many CEOs failed lately?

"I'm convinced one big reason all these CEOs get fired is they don't spend enough time on their job."

(Larry Bossidy, former Honeywell chairman and CEO)

What advice do business leaders have for dealing with a weak economy?

“This is a climate that doesn’t reward risk-taking. Yet, the fundamentals of business are to take prudent risks at the right time."

(Carleton S. Fiorina, chairman and CEO of Hewlett-Packard Co., on corporate governance)

How does Wall Street handle the weak economy?

“Most Wall Street folk are politically left or center, meaning that they privatize the profits — and socialize the losses.”

(Christopher Whalen, Wall Street analyst)

And how do CEOs look to the future?

“My job is to worry — and I have lots to worry about.”

(David W. Dorman, President and CEO of AT&T)

What do business leaders think about globalization?

"Globalization is no immunization against mismanagement."

(Henry Paulson, Chairman and CEO of Goldman Sachs)

And why haven't more CEOs spoken up on the issue?

"The voices of America's CEOs are nowhere to be heard — and understandably so. Their stature and credibility have been seriously tarnished by corporate scandals."

(Jeffrey E. Garten, dean at Yale School of Management)

Finally, how did you succeed in your business career, Mr. Cheney?

"One of the things I like that they do for us is that I get good advice over and above the normal by-the-books audit arrangement."

(U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney, speaking in an advertisement for Arthur Andersen during his tenure as Halliburton CEO)