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Posts Tagged ‘Herb Allen’

David Zaslav, David Zinczenko and the Next Big Name in Fashion

1003_mockup.gifOn any given Wednesday, the Michael’s dining room is chock full of moguls (David Zaslav, David Zinczenko) and mavens largely known to faithful readers of this column, and today was no exception. Yet, every once in a while, I’m lucky enough to meet people who, despite their impressive accomplishments, have managed to keep a relatively low profile.

Today was one of those days thanks to David Thalberg, founder of The Thalberg Group, who introduced me to a fascinating woman. If you’ve never heard of Lisa Sun, founder and CEO of Project Gravitas, trust me, you will. The Taiwanese-born, Ivy League-educated entrepreneur learned the ropes working at McKinsey & Co for 11 years, advising clients in the U.S., Asia, Europe and Latin America on strategic issues for the firm’s global luxury fashion and beauty practice. And, it’s clear in talking to her, that the inspired ideas behind her new business have been percolating for a long, long time.

Armed with degrees in biology and political science from Yale and a lifelong passion for fashion, Lisa rose through the ranks to become McKinsey’s resident expert on the luxury and fashion markets. As such, Lisa gave plenty of keynote addresses at symposiums, including the American Express Luxury Summit. While living all over the world and developing her business acumen as her career progressed, she learned quickly that dressing the part was also a key strategy in building a successful career. Having been a size 22, size 8 and “now a proud size 12,” Lisa was determined to create a line of dresses that gave style-savvy women the fashion they craved and the self-assurance they needed. And that’s how Project Gravitas was born. “We are that dress,” explained Lisa. “The one you wear on the interview where you get that job, the one that inspires you to go to that party, the one that you slip on for that very important day. It’s the one you wear that makes you feel like, ‘Bring it on!’”

Lisa Sun and Diane Clehane

The collection of 10 ‘niche dresses’, available exclusively on Project Gravitas’ website, retail between $195- $295 with free shipping and returns (“By selling online, we can keep the retail price accessible”) and are manufactured exclusively in New York with fabrics from the finest Italian mills. Here’s the real secret ingredient that is sure to attract the attention of Spanx wearers everywhere: each dress is designed with built-in shapewear from high performance moisture-wicking fabric that is breathable and machine washable. Lisa told me, “I wanted to make the ‘treat me’ dress for the young executive who wants to trade up from Zara, the ‘super mom’ who wants to look good for date night. I think of these dresses as beautifully designed safety blankets.”

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Lauren Berger Writes New Book for Young People Entering "Real World"

Lauren Berger Welcome to the Real WorldCareer Expert, Lauren Berger, releases her second book, Welcome to the Real World: Finding Your Place, Perfecting Your Work, and Turning Your Job Into Your Dream Career (Harper Business), on April 22nd. In this book, Berger shares everything she wishes someone told her after graduation. Her book is the essential guide to anyone starting their first, second, or third job. She encourages readers to be fearless, step outside of their comfort zones, and go after what they want.

DreamWorks Co-founder Katzenberg Thinks Hollywood Tonic Is In 3D

katznberg.jpgmadagascar.jpgDreamWorks Animation CEO Jeff Katzenberg brought his dog-and-pony show — the same one he gave to the media boys at Herb Allen‘s Sun Valley Media Conference in July — to Wall Street yesterday.

Wall Street allowed Katzenberg to makes his claims. Maybe, like all overgrown kids, they just liked watching cartoons.

Variety told how Katzenberg offered a bunch of clips from “Madagascar 3″ and stories of opening night jitters for “Shrek, the Musical.”

FBLA, however, was unsure whether the big swinging dicks on Wall Street were forced to wear those crazy 3D glasses.

On you, they look good.

Jerry Yang Just Says Sayonara To Yahoo!

Yang.jpgYahoo! CEO Jerry Yang, who has been back and forth on whether he was sticking with the struggling internet giant, chose to surprse everyone and quit on Monday, the New York Times and others wrote.

Yang, who was unclear about Yahoo!’s future last summer at the Herb Allen Sun Valley Media Conference. At the time, Yang told FBLA that is future was uncertain, but that for the short term he wasn’t going anywhere.

In a memo sent to the company’s staff on Monday evening, Yang said he would retain the post until the board names his successor. After that, he said he’d return to his previous job as “chief Yahoo” – a corporate strategy role – and remain on the board.

Yang’s move comes 18 months after he assumed the CEO post after the departure of Terry Semel. His tenure has been dogged by a precipitously declining stock price and the collapse of a $44 billion takeover offer from Microsoft.

In the memo, Yang wrote, “I strongly believe that having transformed our platform and better aligned costs and revenues, we have a unique window for the right ceo to take ownership over the next wave of mission-critical decisions facing the company.”

Gates, Buffet Speak, and the Moguls Listen

SV200815.jpgDan Cox, on special assignment for FishbowlLA, covering the 2008 Sun Valley Media Conference.

On the closing day of the Sun Valley Media Conference, Bill Gates and Warren Buffett held court with individual speeches about — what else — money.

Gates spoke about collecting it for his Gates Foundation, while Buffett discussed how it could be spent to help the country, according to people who listened.

GatesBuffet_7.13.jpg“Bill said amazing things,” said James Robinson III, former chairman of American Express. “He had all sorts of things to say about raising money for such things as medicine and diseases. He was very engaging and interesting, as he is every year.”

About 200 of those left at the conference attended the speeches, which had a ridiculously inordinate amount of security, with every entrance and exit to the speakers’ hall watched by four guards. Mediabistro, which was kept out by at least three different guards at entrances, thinks that’s what billionaire-type money brings.

But a few who stuck around to listen to billionaire mentality included William Morris Agency’s Jim Wiatt, Yahoo!’s Sue Decker, ICM’s Chris Silbermann, Page1Media’s Isaac Lee, Google’s Sergey Brin and Larry Page, Starr & Co.’s Ken Starr, News Corp.’s Rupert Murdoch, Time Warner’s Richard Parsons, media chef Rachael Ray, Scripps Co.’s Ken Lowe, former Disney chair Michael Eisner, New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman and CNN’s Anderson Cooper.

Though almost half the invitees departed on Friday night, some stuck around to celebrate host Herb Allen with a special dinner last night. And, as every year, a special outdoors ice show (in the middle of summer!!!) took place behind the Sun Valley Lodge.

Friday night, Murdoch and Parsons were secluded at a table in the Sun Valley Lodge bar, discussing either some pending deal or the mixed drinks they wanted to order.

Parsons, who stepped down as Time Warner chair a few months ago, earlier told a reporter he was happy to be an observer at the conference this year rather than a corporate participant.

The King Speaks and Jerry Yang Shows Up

SV200814.jpgDan Cox, on special assignment for FishbowlLA, covering the 2008 Sun Valley Media Conference.

As Herb Allen‘s Sun Valley retreat started to wind down Friday afternoon, some key executives were already boarding their Lear Jets and scooting home, missing out on speeches from the two RICHEST men in the world. They will all miss former Microsoft chair Bill Gates and Berkshire Hathaway’s Warren Buffett tomorrow. Mediabistro will stick around in Sun Valley in beautiful weather (82 degrees and sunny) to gather up whatever crumbs can be taken from the rich men talks.

A presentation by Jordan’s King Abdullah II was well received by a few hundred conference-goers, but nobody wanted to talk about what the Jordanian said. Maybe they were concerned about their oil stocks. Security wasn’t especially heavy for the King, but the feeling on Herb Allen campus was that if any disruptions were started, the crack NYPD-filled security staff would take them down.

Yang_7.11.jpgYahoo! CEO Jerry Yang showed up in Sun Valley just in time to get an earful of complaining in the media about the earthworm status of the Yahoo!/Microsoft merger talks. He did meet quietly with the Google boys, co-founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page as well as CEO Eric Schmidt, but that was presumably made to discuss the display advertising deal that the two companies cut a few weeks back.

Meanwhile, Yahoo! President Sue Decker practically threw her arms up and gave in to media queries about what’s going to happen.

“Forget tomorrow, but in six months where will you be and where will Yahoo! be?” asked one intrepid journo.

“I have no idea,” Decker moaned.

Jeff Zucker’s NBCU Deal Denial and A Surprise Visit From Bill Gates

SV20089.jpgDan Cox, on special assignment for FishbowlLA, covering the 2008 Sun Valley Media Conference.

Universal Studios CEO Ron Meyer was standing with NBCU head Jeff Zucker, waiting for Zucker’s kids coming out of the Chocolate Foundry. Both were upbeat about the Sun Valley conference.

Meyer gave kudos to colleague Jeff Katzenberg, the DreamWorks partner who had a presentation on 3-D this morning.

“It was good,” Meyer said, “a great display of the technolgy.” Katzenberg gave a presentation about the uses of 3-D in film and TV and reportedly showed an “incredible” visual display of the possibilities.

Nike chairman Philip Knight was also exuberant about the display. “It’s where we’re headed. It’s the future,” he said.

Zucker_7.10.jpgZucker, meanwhile, denied a newspaper report of NBC possibly unloading assets at the Sun Valley conference.

“No, there’s nothing like that,” Zucker said. “I’m just here watching.”

Former American Express chairman James Robinson III said he was only here out of a long-standing friendship with host Herb Allen.

But Robinson said that Katzenberg’s speech, like other technology-driven segments, was fascinating and will be of great use to companies like Amex and others. Robinson now runs RRE Ventsures, which deals in applied technology and its utilization.

Former Microsoft chair and founder Bill Gates unexpectedly showed up last night was hovering around the morning presentations. Asked if he had any comment on the pending Microsoft/Yahoo! discussions, he said: “No thank you. No.”

Awaiting the King in Sun Valley

SV2008x.jpgDan Cox, on special assignment for FishbowlLA, covering the 2008 Sun Valley Media Conference.

The secrecy is getting so absurd it’s comical at the Sun Valley Media Conference.

When a Reuters photographer saw them raise a Jordanian flag on campus, he asked why. (How he knew a Jordanian flag is another mystery.) But when he started asking pesky questions, the Herb Allen staff immediately took down the flag.

Abdullah_7.9.jpgIt turns out Sun Valley will bring Jordanian King Abdullah II in as guest speaker at the end of the week, but they didn’t want to disclose it. Not clear what he’ll talk about, probably oil, politics and nuclear war capabilities that Jordan is keen on having.

Last year, it was Britain’s Tony Blair, but he’s not in charge anymore. Sun Valley is determined to keep its big toe in political waters.

Lunch: Politics As Usual

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— DIANE CLEHANE

Timing is everything. Just ask Hillary Clinton. If we’d come a day earlier we would have dined with Karl Rove. (Well, okay, we’d have been in the same room.) Our spy says the sight of ‘Bush’s brain’-turned-Fox commentator at table five had the joint buzzing (or was it hissing?). In any event, politics were still very much front and center today. My pal producer Beverly Camhe introduced me to Patricia Duff who had just yesterday hosted a lunch at the Friar’s Club with Paul Begala for her political think tank, The Common Good. According to Beverly, who says joining Patricia’s group has been “life-changing,” Paul told the crowd that he’s all but certain Barack Obama will win the Democratic nomination. Since Paul is a Hillary supporter his prediction carries some heft. Patricia, who has also hosted Henry Kissinger and economic advisor Robert Hormats, is sure to have more heavy hitters hold forth on all things presidential in the coming months. Check it out yourself. After all, you can’t spend all your free time watching Gossip Girl no matter what New York says

Here’s the rundown on today’s crowd:

1. Kathie Lee Gifford, Hoda Kotb, Eduardo Verastegui, Sean Wolfington and his lovely wife Ana, Kathie Lee’s right-hand gal Christine Gardiner and my new pal Today show producer Brian Balthazar. Seems those new BFFs Kathie Lee and Hoda have a regular Wednesday date to take in a matinee and then talk about it on Today the next morning. Today the girls were off to see Crybaby. Tune in tomorrow to catch their review.

2. Nick Simunek

3. Ron Delsener and John Eastman

4. Stan Shuman with a fellow we didn’t recognize …

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Sun Valley Media Mogul Report

Ron Mwangaguhunga reports:

It’s July, so that means that the chattering class big guns are out and about in Sun Valley, Idaho, at investment banker Herb Allen‘s mogul retreat for a little “deep think” interspersed with rounds of golf. There is always, lurking in the green, the possible dramatic tension of the merger-subplot-scenario. Heather Godchild, chief media analyst at Standard and Poor’s credit rating service, told the Seattle Times: “Bucolic it may be, but this is a chessboard. You’ve got major, major players there thinking through some big questions.”

Much of the reporting coming out of Sun Valley appears to revolve around four themes:

  • 1. Rupert Murdoch Watching, which is a form of media-driven spectator sport involving the parsing of Mr. Murdoch’s every utterance for a cue as to when — or if — there will be a satisfying resolution to the $60-a-share deal for Dow Jones
  • 2. What is the future of media distribution?
  • 3. What will be the effect of private equity on the media entertainment industry?
  • 4. No one can get enough of Facebook, which most recently has been featured in both Time and Howie Kurtz‘s Reliable Sources last Sunday.

    The runner-up?

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  • Lunch at Michael’s: Ex-CBS News Prez Says Give Katie A Chance

    lunch_at_michaels_logo.jpgAs much as we’ve come to enjoy our perch at the bar with its bird’s eye view, we were thrilled when one of our favorite television titans, Andrew Heyward, invited us to join him and his guests for lunch. Today’s lunchtime chronicler, Diane Clehane, chatted with the always affable and extremely insightful former president of CBS News and Bostonian pals Jeffrey F. Rayport, chairman and founder of Marketspace and his wife, investment consultant Hilary Hedge. Andrew, who is currently working with fellow Harvard alum Mr. Rayport as a consultant to Marketspace’s media practice, looked relaxed and happy (love the Zegna suit!) as he weighed in on his former employer’s decision to hire Katie Couric to anchor the evening news. “They are not to be underestimated. They deserve credit for trying new ideas and taking the program in new directions. The reporting is excellent.” His take on Couric: “She’s very talented and has brought a warmth to the broadcast. It takes time to find your voice and it takes time for viewers to find you.” So back off, you naysayers!

    Here’s the rundown on the best of the rest:

    1. Bruce Wasserstein presiding over a table of imposing-looking gentlemen.

    2. Peter Brown and Joan Cooney.

    3. ‘Mayor’ Joe Armstrong and New York Social Diary‘s David Patrick Columbia with the lovely Joan Jacobson.

    4. Herb Siegal and guest.

    5. Producer Irv Winkler and an outdoorsy-looking gent. The hit-maker — whose latest picture, Rocky Balboa, has proven to be a knockout punch at the box office — was collared by Peggy Siegal (who was showing off her pics taken on a recent trip to Africa to all who stopped by) on his way out. The uber publicist was overheard extending an invite to Irv to attend her screening of “The Lives of Others.” Second shift: Former New York City Council president and one-time mayoral candidate Andrew Stein.

    6. Our friend Terry Allen Kramer, Margo McNabb and guest.

    7. A flack named “BJ,” we’re told …

    8. Messieurs Heyward and Rayport, Ms. Hedge and Ms. Clehane.

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