When 250 News Corp. executives gather this weekend for a management retreat at a posh California seaside resort, they’ll skip the typical team-building exercises that such confabs are known for. Why role-play when you can pick the brains of actual world leaders and rock stars?
Speakers at the Pebble Beach event will include such political powers as British Prime Minister Tony Blair, former President Clinton and Israeli Vice Premier Shimon Peres. Los Angeles Police Chief William J. Bratton will opine on remaking complex organizations, former Vice President Al Gore will riff on climate change, and U2’s Bono will deliver a keynote address titled “The Power of One.”
The singer is likely to focus on his poverty- and AIDS-related crusade, called One. But Bono could just as easily be referring to his host, Rupert Murdoch, the chairman of News Corp.
A five-page agenda obtained by The Times reveals what management experts and company insiders say is a testament to Murdoch’s unusual global vision and a product of his ownership of newspapers in Australia, New York and Britain, broadcast properties and cable channels such as Fox News and satellite TV services that reach every corner of the world.
“Murdoch has created a global media market by successfully operating in very different regulatory and political environments,” said Kathleen Hall Jamieson, director of the Annenberg Public Policy Center at the University of Pennsylvania. The retreat’s lineup of speakers, she said, “may tell you how he has learned about the broad base of business environments he operates in.”
News Corp. declined to discuss details of the program. According to the agenda, Murdoch will make some opening remarks Sunday evening before turning over the podium to Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, who in turn will introduce Blair.