|No More Worlds to Conquer|
Those pondering a life after banking might be puzzled about how to adapt to a change of pace, of status, of money.
Well, they’re not alone. In his new book No More Worlds To Conquer, Euromoney’s Middle East editor Chris Wright looks at lives after iconic moments: at how to move on even when you know you will only ever be remembered for one thing.
He talks to moonwalking Apollo astronauts, record-breaking Olympians and former hostages about getting on with life, despite knowing the opening line of your obituary is already written. Interviewees include Nadia Comaneci, the gymnast; Chuck Yeager, the first man to break the sound barrier; five Apollo veterans; former Lebanon hostage John McCarthy; and a host of others, ranging from a member of the 1966 World Cup winning England side who became a Huddersfield undertaker, to the crew of the notorious United 232 plane crash.
It’s quite a diversion from Chris’s usual diet of sovereign wealth funds, Islamic finance and emerging debt capital markets, but there are moments where the two worlds intersect.
|Bill Anders, on the crew of Apollo 8 – the first craft to leave Earth’s orbit and travel to the moon, orbiting it 10 times in 1968, during which time he took the famous Earthrise photo that is used as the book’s cover – went on to become CEO of General Dynamics|
Bill Anders, on the crew of Apollo 8 – the first craft to leave Earth’s orbit and travel to the moon, orbiting it 10 times in 1968, during which time he took the famous Earthrise photo that is used as the book’s cover – went on to become CEO of General Dynamics. His commitment to shareholder value, including selling the company’s most-prized division to a direct rival, was so successful (for shareholders, anyway) that there is a Harvard case study on it.
The deal wasn’t meant to come out that way, he tells Euromoney. General Dynamics was cash-rich, and since fighter planes had become its core division, Anders went to see Lockheed chairman Daniel Tellup to offer to buy its equivalent business, the one informally known as Skunk Works.
“I was lusting after it,” he remembers. “If you own the Skunk Works, your you-know-what grew in that industry. I wasn’t totally immune to big-is-better.”
At the end of his pitch, Tellup told him: “Bill, that was a hell of a good idea. We gotta do that. We’ll accept, with one little exception.”
“What’s that?” Anders asked
“I won’t sell, but I’ll buy you.”
“I thought: shit,” recalls Anders.
But, true to his principles, he agreed to sell if the price was right. He asked the experts on his staff what the business was worth, multiplied it by 1.5, and put it to Lockheed, who paid $1.5 billion for it in 1993. Shareholders during Anders’s three-year tenure ended up with six times the money they’d started with.