ruthlessness   12

JAB’s Peter Harf: hire ambitious talent and give them a mission
February 16, 2019 | | Financial Times | by Leila Abboud and Arash Massoudi.

JAB oversees its portfolio of coffee, beverages, and casual dining companies. .....When everything was going wrong last year at Coty, the cosmetics company backed by investment group JAB Holdings, Peter Harf reacted with characteristic ruthlessness, replacing Coty’s chief financial officer and chief executive, and taking back the Coty chairmanship from his longtime associate, Bart Becht. Describing last year’s share price decline of more than 60% as “unacceptable” for JAB and its co-investors, Mr Harf says the situation “had to have serious consequences” even for his inner circle......Harf believes that identifying talented people — and incentivising them through performance-based pay — have been key to his success over his nearly 40-year career..... just as important to Harf is knowing when to jettison those who are no longer serving the mission he has overseen since he was 35: growing the wealth of Germany’s reclusive Reimann family who are behind JAB....Harf's vision was for JAB to be modelled on Berkshire Hathaway, the investment conglomerate built by his idol, Warren Buffett. Success would come not only from backing the right leaders but by patiently building brands, embarking on deals and taking companies public to cash in on bets....Harf felt he had assembled a dream team: “My mantra has always been that I need to hire people who are better than me. Lions hire lions and sheep hire other sheep.”

Three questions for Peter Harf
(1) Who is your leadership hero?

“Warren Buffett. Hands down. All this stuff that I intend to do to make JAB into a long-term investment vehicle, he does it to perfection. He’s the greatest investor in the world, and I want to be like him. If we invest as well as Warren, we’ve won. Very simple.”

(3) What was your first leadership lesson?

One of my biggest role models was Bruce Henderson, the founder of Boston Consulting Group. When I worked for him, I prepared a three-page analysis about a problem. It had 10 bullet points as the conclusion. He dismissed it as way too complicated and said: “Don’t try to field every ball.” He meant that if you wanted to be a good leader, you have to be able to focus on the important stuff first.
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The trouble often starts when leaders start listing five or seven or 11 priorities. As Jim Collins, the author of the best-selling management books “Good to Great” and “Built to Last,” is fond of saying: “If you have more than three priorities, you don’t have any.”
BCG  Berkshire_Hathaway  beverages  casual_dining  coffee  commitment  CPG  dealmakers  deal-making  departures  exits  family_office  family-owned_businesses  HBS  hiring  investors  JAB  Keurig  lifelong  mission-driven  private_equity  portfolio_management  ruthlessness  talent  troubleshooting  Warren_Buffett 
february 2019 by jerryking
“This Is Serious”: Facebook Begins Its Downward Spiral | Vanity Fair
But one thing is certain. For years, Zuckerberg and Facebook have tromped through the technology landscape and demolished everything that stood in the way. This was done without any reprisal, without any consequence. In fact, each time the company destroyed a competitor, or found a way around traditional regulatory concerns, the valuation of Facebook would go up. But now, it seems that all of those actions are coming back to haunt the company, and social media as a whole. Facebook was always famous for the sign that hung in its offices, written in big red type on a white background, that said “Move Fast and Break Things.” And every time I think about the company, I realize it has done just that—to itself. But I think that Zuckerberg, and the people who work at Facebook, also realize that the things they have broken are things that are going to be very difficult to put back together.
Facebook  ZuckerbergMark  business  power  socialMedia  privacy  surveillanceCapitalism  businessModels  competition  ruthlessness 
january 2018 by petej
Josef Joffe: Dear Vladimir: Congratulations. You Read My Book - WSJ.com
By
Josef Joffe
March 6, 2014 | WSJ |

Be both ruthless and prudent—just what I prescribed in "The Prince." You Russians have distilled my wisdom into a pithy phrase: Kto kovo—who dominates whom? And you have beautifully executed my central idea. I never preached violence to the max, but the "economy of force"—how to get more with less. The Crimean caper was a masterpiece of smart power politics.

Grab opportunities when you saw them. First, you calculated the "correlation of forces," to use a Soviet term....Then, you assessed political geography correctly. The rule is never to take on a superior enemy like the West on his own turf. You test his mettle on his periphery...Next, factor in geography proper. Globally, the West is far superior to Russia, but regionally, you were the Man. You had the "interior lines," as the great Prussian strategist Carl von Clausewitz put it; the West was a thousand miles away. And your troops were already in place in Crimea—tanks, planes and all....Now to the balance of interests, a more subtle concept. The EU has been contesting you over Ukraine, but more as a confused afterthought. Your country had more compelling fish to fry: Ukraine as former Russian heartland plus an ethnic majority in Crimea, a strategic gem that Khrushchev had absentmindedly given away to Ukraine 60 years ago.

So you also held the psychological advantage that comes with having more skin in the game. Khrushchev blithely ignored the balance of interests in the Caribbean. Otherwise he would not have moved his missiles into Cuba in 1962, 90 miles off the U.S. coast.....Best of all, you are a true Machiavellian when it comes to the economy of violence. Just enough, never too much, and with minimal risks. So you didn't grab eastern Ukraine, which might have really riled the West and triggered a costly insurgency. You merely harvested the low-hanging fruit of Crimea, and with a fabulous profit. ....Here, my pupil, beckons the biggest payoff. You need not fear the democratic contagion of the Maidan spilling over into your own country. Not for a long time.

What a boost to your "street cred" in the rivalry of nations! With a small investment, you have amassed what Mr. Obama no longer has and what the Europeans lost long ago: a reputation for ruthlessness and the readiness to use force.

Power is when you don't have to wield it—when you don't have to threaten, let alone execute, to get your way.....We live in a split world. In Asia and Africa, mayhem is as present or possible as ever. Call this the "Damascus-Pyongyang Belt." Yet in the "Berlin-Berkeley Belt," force as a tool of statecraft has virtually disappeared....the U.S.—is now loath to resort to the ultima ratio. And that offers you wondrous opportunities. When the supply of force contracts, even a little bit goes a long way, as you have proved in Crimea.
Niccolò_Machiavelli  Vladimir_Putin  Crimea  Russia  hard_power  power  influence  statecraft  geopolitics  Ukraine  improvisation  rogue_actors  skin_in_the_game  political_geography  ruthlessness  large_payoffs  Carl_von_Clausewitz  strategic_geography 
march 2014 by jerryking
Goldman and the Great Muppet Caper -- Daily Intel
Smith wrote. “If clients don’t trust you they will eventually stop doing business with you.”
But does that basic truth apply to Goldman Sachs? The answer appears to be no. The firm has thrived despite mistrust it has faced since at least 1929, when it sold investors inflated shares of a company that would soon go bust in a deal that John Kenneth Galbraith would later call “large-scale corporate thimble-rigging.” More recent accusations of chicanery have bounced off the firm like spitballs off a warship. A Goldmanite turned hedge-fund manager once explained to me the mentality of the firm’s clients in these terms: Yes, dealing with Goldman is distasteful, but it’s too lucrative to give up; sure, they’d try to screw you, but if you’re smart and they respect you, the payoff could be huge.


According to Bloomberg data, Goldman won more advisory business last year than any of its peers. This despite all the unflattering episodes recited by Smith in his op-ed: “The S.E.C., Fabulous Fab, Abacus, God’s Work, Carl Levin, Vampire Squids.” Or perhaps because of them. Each headline that decries the firm’s business practices also subtly reinforces its superior ruthlessness. “I’ve seen it again and again,” said a psychotherapist friend of mine. “The nastiest, most obviously cutthroat ones always survive, even though everyone professes to hate them.” Granted, he was talking about Survivor, but the logic holds. While one may not want to be pals with the Goldman guy who talks about “ripping eyeballs out” and “getting paid,” there’s a primal appeal to having such a person overseeing your finances, in the same way it’s good to have a bastard around to push other competitors off the island.
goldman_sachs  finance  money  ruthlessness  $GS 
march 2012 by rufous
You Are Not Ruthless Enough - playswithfire
"Every time you throw in a quick fix for something because it’s Getting Late(tm), stop and see if you can fix it correctly right then. Pragmatism says it might not be possible in the time remaining, and that’s ok; “Real artists ship” and all that but a ruthless artist will fix the problem first thing in the next release so they can keep shipping again and again and again." Unhuh.
programming  development  ruthlessness 
february 2012 by infovore
The New Cold War
May 14, 2008 | New York Times | By THOMAS L. FRIEDMAN.

The next president is going to be a cold-war president — but this cold war is with Iran...As the May 11 editorial in the Iranian daily Kayhan put it, “In the power struggle in the Middle East, there are only two sides: Iran and the U.S.”

For now, Team America is losing on just about every front. How come? The short answer is that Iran is smart and ruthless, America is dumb and weak, and the Sunni Arab world is feckless and divided...Ehud Yaari, one of Israel’s best Middle East watchers, calls “Pax Iranica.” In his April 28 column in The Jerusalem Report, Mr. Yaari pointed out the web of influence that Iran has built around the Middle East — from the sway it has over Iraq’s prime minister, Nuri al-Maliki, to its ability to manipulate virtually all the Shiite militias in Iraq, to its building up of Hezbollah into a force — with 40,000 rockets — that can control Lebanon and threaten Israel should it think of striking Tehran, to its ability to strengthen Hamas in Gaza and block any U.S.-sponsored Israeli-Palestinian peace.

“Simply put,” noted Mr. Yaari, “Tehran has created a situation in which anyone who wants to attack its atomic facilities will have to take into account that this will lead to bitter fighting” on the Lebanese, Palestinian, Iraqi and Persian Gulf fronts. That is a sophisticated strategy of deterrence...Alas, the right question for the next president isn’t whether we talk or don’t talk. It’s whether we have leverage or don’t have leverage.

When you have leverage, talk. When you don’t have leverage, get some — by creating economic, diplomatic or military incentives and pressures that the other side finds too tempting or frightening to ignore.
Lebanon  Iran  U.S.foreign_policy  Tom_Friedman  nuclear  Hezbollah  incentives  deterrence  Middle_East  Mideast_Peace  Cold_War  leverage  ruthlessness  influence  Palestinian  Iraq  Persian_Gulf  multiple_stressors  grand_strategy 
january 2012 by jerryking
Buffett's Ruthlessness Is Oddly Absent on Sokol - NYTimes.com
April 4, 2011, 9:10 pm DealBook Column
Buffett’s Ruthlessness Is Oddly Absent on Sokol
By ANDREW ROSS SORKIN
Warren_Buffett  compliance  scandals  Andrew_Sorkin  David_Sokol  ruthlessness 
april 2011 by jerryking