Friday March 10

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Friday, March 10:

Diary of a day: Pfizer’s vice-chairman David Shedlarz on anchoring a personal home page, choosing stories, columns and photos of the day.

8.45am

Preparing for my role over coffee in a midtown hotel. I am pretty sure that sitting in the editor’s role will turn out to be different than I ever expected; and perhaps congruous to people’s reactions when they see more about how pharmaceutical companies actually work. The FT’s exercise gives it valuable “customer intelligence” on how readers interact with the news. I read a large amount of material, of which about 70 per cent comes from the internet now.

Transparency, innovation, globalisation and corporate citizenship are topics of interest. It also would be good to “take up a notch” the story on the US ports and DP World controversy. The bigger picture is globalisation and isolationism.

9.30am

More coffee at the FT’s morning news conference with newslist from around the world and New York reporters. We dive right in.

A story about creative ways to boost guest hotel charges has some drama. The “Peyton Place of hotels”?

Two currently running stories still have some legs. As expected, the US ports story stood out and could have wider implications. And the debut of the New York Stock Exchange as a publicly traded company is a story that’s “not quite over.”

Along with a balancing act between globalisation and isolationism, the DP World ports story raises questions about future US mergers and acquisitions policy. One consequence we should look at is a potential backlash against the Bush administration’s recent attitude toward large-scale merger combinations and activity. This episode shines a much brighter light on the administration’s policies for mergers. As we have seen, big mergers are becoming an easy political target. So a future story on the potential consequences on big deals, pending or future, would be on target.

One way the NYSE story could advance is watching how it begins operating and sourcing like other public companies. For instance, it could globally source some of its back-office information technologies functions.

There are also two items for the pharmaceutical industry of interest. A Lex note highlights European drugmakers’ higher stock price valuations compared to say US counterparts. This valuation gap is worth watching, because it could trigger more consolidation soon. If they were able to pick a sweet spot for using stock as a currency for mergers, it would be now. “The currency is sitting hotly in the hands of the European companies.” Deals are more likely between European players, but they could look at some US targets.

Also interested in the Bush administration’s planned nomination of Andrew Von Eschenbach, as a permanent leader of the Food and Drug Administration. A story should pay attention to whether his appointment helps to retain key staff – an important element in retaining the efficiency of the agency.

10.15am

Selecting the stories to run on my FT.com news page – I want something on the Google purchase of a small web-based word processor. Anything to do with mergers and acquisitions is of keen interest these days.

US jobs data looks good. That should be a top story, along with DreamWorks profit decline.

The Deutsche Bank tax issue is interesting. So much interest in accounting these days.

This is more interesting than the Japanese interior minister’s criticisms of the Bank of Japan. “Boring.”

Definitely need more about the Dubai ports story. Also the European pharmaceutical Lex must be on there. Anything more on the effects of globalisation should be added later in the day.

To make room, lets take down the Eon story.

The photo on the page should be of President Bush, and the Georgia Republican Party, because he intersects with so much of the news.

I also would like more features on innovation and corporate governance/citizenship. Definitely put up the opinion piece on the benefits of shareholder activism. Technology in science has broad implications, so we should have the feature on the hydrogen atom and new atomic energies, as well as the UK’s high-beam light source – super microscope.

10.30am

Run to a meeting for my real job.

12.00pm

Get back to FT that we need to put up a story on European Union and Microsoft showdown and regulators threat of $2.4m in fines per day.

Also Nasdaq approach to London Stock Exchange touches interest in M&A and the NYSE story.

To view all four online diaries, click here

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