Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Former Presidential Speechwriter Bill McGurn Guest Lectures in MSBA Class

Bill McGurn, Main Street columnist at the Wall Street Journal, joined the MSBA Spirit of Enterprise class for the first of three visiting lectures. McGurn has had a long career in journalism, serving as the Editor for the Editorial Page for The New York Post, columnist for the The Wall Street Journal, and speechwriter for former President George Bush, Sr.

Last week's case study dealt with the ethical question surrounding the relationship between Citigroup CEO Sandy Weill and Salomon Smith Barney analyst Jack Grubman in 2001. Was the sudden AT&T upgrade from hold to strong buy a result of new strategic information that Grubman encountered? Or was it in fact a quid pro quo for Weill's recommendation and $1M contribution to the 92nd Street Y pre-school which Grubman wanted his childrento attend?

At stake was AT&T's choice of an investment bank, which Weill coveted, knowing a hold recommendation from his subsidiary SSB was likely to hurt Citi's chances. After discussing the case and reading memos between the two, Mr. McGurn and professor Max Torres role-played Jack Grubman and congressional questioners. Guilty or not guilty? We will never know. What we do know is the case led to a spirited debate in our Spirit of Enterprise class and demonstrated the fine line between honorable and selfish intentions.

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