David Shipley, senior executive rditor of Bloomberg Opinion, sent the following memo to staff on Wednesday:
Dear Team Opinion,
I hope this finds you well. This news just broke, so I didn’t want to wait for a weekend bulletin to share it.
Adrian Wooldridge, I am delighted to report, will be joining Bloomberg Opinion as our Global Business Columnist.
Adrian spelled out his ambitions in a mission statement:
When I first started writing about business in the early 1990s the subject was alive with intellectual energy. Management gurus were the new prophets; management theories reordered corporate life; management consultancies competed furiously to produce the next big idea. Some of these ideas were silly and destructive. Some were low-grade money-making schemes. But beneath it all was a sense that the old rules were collapsing and new ones were needed to navigate a world that was exploding with opportunities and threats: knowledge workers were gaining unprecedented power; companies were bursting out of their national and regional prisons; a new world was rising in the East.
For the past 20 years intellectual energy has shifted from business to geopolitics. America’s humiliation in Iraq and Afghanistan combined with the rise of China raised fundamental questions about a change in the global order. The populist revolution embodied in Trump and Brexit suggested that the legitimacy of the system might be failing. And many of the business ideas that had driven the previous intellectual renaissance in management thinking proved to be empty: re-engineering fizzled into recriminations and ideas about “asset-lite management” produced Enron. Business intellectuals (to the extent that they still exist) retreated into producing bromides about being nice to workers.
The aim of this column is to revive the spirit of the 1990s in the light of what we have learned about geopolitics: that is, to try to think about business with an eye to first principles rather than day-to-day market fluctuations but also take into account the big geopolitical questions that have been raised by America’s faltering leadership and capitalism’s fading legitimacy.
A column is a work in progress but that seems like a pretty great place to start.
A little bit about Adrian.
For the last three decades, Adrian has been a driving force at The Economist, serving most recently as political editor and the person behind the Bagehot column. His previous posts at the magazine include writing the Schumpeter column on business, finance and management, running the Washington bureau (where he wrote the Lexington column) and working as The Economist’s West Coast correspondent, management correspondent and Britain correspondent. Along the way, he has managed to write more than 10 books, including several with John Micklethwait. His most recent effort, Aristocracy of Talent, has been long-listed for the McKinsey/Financial Times business book of the year. Capitalism in America, which he wrote with Alan Greenspan, was short-listed for the same award. In 2017, Adrian received the Gerald Loeb award for business commentary.
Adrian will be based in London. An official start date has yet to be set but we are counting the days until his arrival. I hope you will all join me in welcoming him to Bloomberg Opinion.