Corporate bosses increase pressure on university presidents

Corporate bosses increase pressure on university presidents

Leaders at Harvard, MIT and the University of Pennsylvania face increasing pressure after their disastrous testimony before Congress this week about anti-Semitism on college campuses. What’s at stake: Their legalistic responses to whether students who call for the genocide of the Jews should be disciplined. (Penn’s Liz Magill and Harvard’s Claudine Gay later apologized for their testimony.)

Magill appeared the most vulnerable of the three as school administrators debated her future, while the influential board of advisors at Wharton, the university’s business school, called on her to resign.

A firestorm over testimony is growing in Washington and beyond. House Republicans announced an investigation into the “learning environments” at the three schools, with the possibility of subpoenas. Doug Emhoff, husband of Vice President Kamala Harris, said the administrators’ “lack of moral clarity is simply unacceptable.”

Business leaders also expressed outrage. Ross Stevens, a hedge fund manager who has previously criticized Penn’s curriculum, said that withdraw a gift of 100 million dollars to school. Billionaire investor Bill Ackman, who publicly condemned Harvard students who he said blamed Israel for the October 7 Hamas attacks, called on presidents of all three universities will be laid off.

AND David Wolpa prominent rabbi, resigned from Harvard’s advisory committee on anti-Semitism, saying that anti-Jewish ideology was so entrenched that he did not believe it could make the kind of difference he hoped.

Penn “requires new leadership effective immediately” Wharton’s advisory board wrote this week in a letter to Magill. While the board can only make recommendations, its voice is influential: Its president, Marc Rowan of Apollo Global Management, has asked alumni to withhold donations to Penn. What’s more, three Members of the Wharton board of directors – David Blitzer of Blackstone, Jamie Dinan of York Capital Management and Alberto Duran of Mundivox Communications – are also Penn Trustees.

It’s unclear what Penn administrators will do with Magill. During an emergency call Thursday, they did not vote on whether to remove her, but rather urged her and other school leaders to express the university’s values ​​more clearly.

But some members of Penn’s board of trustees suggested that further action was needed: Gov. Josh Shapiro of Pennsylvania, a nonvoting member, urged trustees to decide whether Magill’s testimony reflected the school’s values. “I hope they will meet again in the coming days and I hope they will carefully consider that issue,” he told reporters.

The reaction against the presidents of Harvard and MIT has not gone that far. Wolpe said Harvard’s Gay was a “kind, thoughtful person” and he did not ask him to resign. And MIT’s executive committee said that Sally Kornbluth, the school’s president, had “our total and unreserved support.”

  • In related news: Sam Altman, the CEO of OpenAI, wrote on And he added: “I still don’t understand it, really. or know what to do about it.”

Britain’s antitrust watchdog will review Microsoft’s relationship with OpenAI. The Competition and Markets Authority said it would begin examining whether actions such as Microsoft’s $10 billion investment in the maker of ChatGPT, which gave it a 49 percent stake in the company, represented a “acquisition of control“That amounted to a de facto merger. (Brad SmithMicrosoft president, said his company’s relationship with OpenAI was “very different” from, say, Google’s acquisition of AI lab DeepMind). The review is the most high-profile effort yet to examine the partnership between two leading AI developers.

Hunter Biden faces new charges of tax evasion. A federal grand jury on Thursday indicted President Biden’s son for conspiring to avoid paying federal taxes on millions in income from foreign companies. This latest set of charges against Hunter Biden carries a maximum sentence of 17 years in prison if he is convicted.

Binance founder ordered to remain in the United States before being sentenced. A federal judge ruled that Changpeng Zhao was a flight risk, overturning a lower court judge’s ruling that the cryptocurrency mogul could return to Dubai, where his family lives. Zhao pleaded guilty last month to money laundering charges as part of a wide-ranging settlement involving Binance, the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange.

A bankrupt transportation giant rejects a takeover offer. Yellow, which filed for Chapter 11 this summer, said a proposal by a trucking executive to revive the business “was not viable.” Yellow added that the offer did not appear to have the support of creditors, including the Treasury Department, which had provided a $700 million loan during the pandemic.

Nikki Haley continues to raise money from corporate leaders. Bain Capital and Solamere Capital executives organize a fundraiser for the former South Carolina governor next week, according to Bloomberg, in the latest sign of Haley’s rise in the Republican presidential primary. Meanwhile, a super PAC backing Ron DeSantis canceled a donation event this week, supposedly due to lack of interest.

One of the central characters in the brief coup at OpenAI last month was Helen Toner, an artificial intelligence researcher and board member at the time, who had clashed with Sam Altman, the company’s chief executive.

A summary: Altman was fired and briefly hired by Microsoft; OpenAI employees, including the chief scientist who initially backed the CEO’s firing, threatened to resign en masse; Altman was reinstated; and most of the board of directors, including Toner, resigned. All this happened in five days.

in a interview with the Wall Street JournalToner did not go into details, but said that the board’s loss of trust in Altman meant that firing him would meet the organization’s goal of developing AI responsibly:

At one point during the heated negotiations, an OpenAI lawyer said the board’s decision to fire Altman could lead to the company’s collapse. “That would be really consistent with the mission,” Toner responded at the time, surprising some executives in the room.

In the interview, Toner said that comment was in response to what she took to be an “intimidation tactic” by the attorney. She says she was trying to convey that OpenAI’s continued existence is not, by definition, necessary for the nonprofit’s broader mission of creating general artificial intelligence that benefits humanity at large. A simultaneous concern of researchers is that AGI, an artificial intelligence system that can perform tasks better than most humans, could also cause harm. We would like to know your comments! Email your ideas and suggestions to

Larry Fink, CEO of BlackRock, on LinkedIn. Both Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and businessman Vivek Ramaswamy used the money management giant and its embrace of environmental, social and governance concerns in investing, known as ESG, as political punching bags in the debate. of Wednesday’s Republican primaries.

Consumer advocate Ralph Nader has made a career criticizing corporations and CEOs and advanced laws to make food, water, work and travel safer. Now, the 89-year-old lawyer has changed tack: He’s praising exceptional business leaders.

Nader’s last book, “The Rebel CEO: 12 Leaders Who Got It Right,” examines the work of executives who he believes did a good job when running their companies, including Anita Roddick of The Body Shop, Yvon Chouinard of Patagonia, and John Bogle of Vanguard.

The book itself is an example of Nader’s rebellious streak: He told DealBook’s Ephrat Livni that editors had encouraged him to write about bad corporate practices, but instead he wanted to highlight principled business leaders.

“Young people think that CEOs are only judged by whether they meet market demand,” Nader said in an interview. “This book raises the bar of expectations.”

The CEOs he has profiled, he said, meet five criteria.

They focused on the workers.. “Herb Kelleher, former CEO of Southwest Airlines, always called workers ‘my people’ and prioritized them even above consumers, but the result was a warmth and a ‘yes’ culture among staff that consumers really they could feel.”

They spoke their minds in public. “CEOs often sound like they are speaking from a script and have marbles in their mouths. But those who appear in the book did not hesitate to articulate their positions. “Roddick from the Body Shop was destroying the beauty industry.”

They admitted their mistakes. “They did it to speed up the corrective process. After saying they were wrong, they were quicker to fix the problems.”

They were not too reserved. “Everyone shared their so-called trade secrets and ways of doing business. “They rebelled against the proprietary secret syndrome that can often mask irregularities.”

They showed restraint. “Everyone paid attention to profits and knew that without them they could not be bold or take risks. But they didn’t put profits before everything else and they didn’t overpay themselves.”



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