As part of Free week, we invited four US business leaders - Wilbur Ross, the billionaire investor, James Cayne, chief executive of Bear Stearns, John Castellani, president of the Business Roundtable, and Pfizer’s David Shedlarz - to choose the top news stories of the day and share their selections with FT.com readers.
Our own editors’ choices appeared, as usual, on the four regional home pages US, UK, Europe and Asia). Readers were able to toggle back and forth, comparing our guests’ selections with the FT’s. Our guests did not write or commission stories or headlines.
Just as the opinion columns on our comment page give our readers an opportunity to read the views of diverse and influential outsiders, we hope our guests’ news choices will offer a personal take on the day’s events.
The exercise is also a way for us to participate in the opening up of the editing process driven by internet technologies. News aggregators and personalised news feeds have broken the historic monopoly the editors of the mainstream media once enjoyed over the selection and ranking of the news. Now, everyone can set his or her own news priorities. We are pleased to offer our readers the personal choices of four business leaders turned journalists for the day.
Monday, March 6: Wilbur Ross, CEO, WL Ross & Co
Wilbur Ross turned his experience as a bankruptcy adviser with Rothschild bank in New York into one of the most successful private equity firms in the US. Revitalising struggling industries such as steel, coal and textiles, WL Ross & Co has made its eponymous founder a fortune where others saw only losses and redundancies. Last year, he sold his steel interests to Mittal Steel for $4.5bn and turned his attention to the car industry.
Wednesday, March 8: John Castellani, president, Business Roundtable
As president of the Business Roundtable, John Castellani serves as the Washington voice for some of corporate America’s biggest players. Its 160 members are chief executives of mostly larger US companies, with a combined workforce of more than 10 million employees. The Roundtable is a key lobbyist for business interests, campaigning on issues such as free trade and corporate governance.
Thursday, March 9: James Cayne, chairman & CEO, Bear Stearns
James “Jimmy” Cayne is the longest-serving head of a top Wall Street firm having been chief executive of Bear Stearns since 1993 and chairman since 2001. Under his leadership, Bear Stearns has become a broad-based investment bank with a market value of nearly $20bn. One of Wall Street’s most colourful characters, Mr Cayne is known for his love of cigars and competitive bridge.
Friday, March 10: David Shedlarz, vice-chairman, Pfizer
David Shedlarz, vice-chairman of Pfizer, is at the forefront of the world’s largest pharmaceutical company’s efforts to revamp itself to face increasing business, political and scientific challenges. He helped create and lead an initiative that includes a restructuring programme targeting $4bn in savings. The plan also seeks to help boost profit growth in 2007 after two years of declining or flat earnings due to patent expiries and generic competition.