Alex Brummer

Why Bolland is ideal for M&S

By Alex Brummer, December 3, 2009

The choice of Marc Bolland of grocer Wm Morrison to be the next chief executive of Marks & Spencer has been treated in the media and by the stock market as a second coming. Since executive chairman Sir Stuart Rose unveiled his successor as chief executive last month, the reaction has been wholly positive and the group’s shares have soared towards 400p, almost double the low point at the worst of the great panic a year ago.

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Keep close eye on Murdoch II

By Alex Brummer, November 26, 2009

The day when Rupert Murdoch decamped to New York to concentrate on his American interests, leaving his son James in charge at Wapping, little change was expected. How wrong you can be.

James, like his father, is a media genius and used his stay at Sky (where he has moved up from chief executive to chairman) to push the frontiers of HD and invest in digital.

But he always seemed more interested in delivery than content. That is now changing. As chief executive of News Corporation Europe and Asia, he is beginning to exercise real political power.

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BAE's success runs on kosher rocket fuel

By Alex Brummer, November 19, 2009

Amid all the gloom about Britain’s economic prospects, it is often forgotten that there are still areas where the nation excels. Thriving sectors include aerospace, pharmaceuticals and, more obviously, finance.

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The machers who built UK plc

By Alex Brummer, November 5, 2009

For decades ‘Gussies’, Great Universal Stores shares, along with those of M&S, formed the core of private share portfolios. Those who hung onto their GUS shares are now the proud owners of three top FTSE companies: fashion group Burberry, the catalogue shopping and DIY concern Home Retail Group and credit checking giant Experian.

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The Levene coverage stinks

By Alex Brummer, October 29, 2009

In some respects it has not been a bad financial crisis for Jews. After all, several of the heroes who rebuilt the system post the great panic — including the Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke and International Monetary Fund boss Dominique Strauss-Kahn — have been drawn from our community. But if you followed the media, this would have barely registered.

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If anyone can save us, Strauss-Kahn

By Alex Brummer, October 22, 2009

As the world has sought to recover from the great panic of last autumn and the calamitous drop in asset prices, trade and output, no one has been more important in driving recovery than the managing director of the International Monetary Fund, Dominique Strauss-Kahn.

A suave Frenchman, with matinee idol looks, Strauss-Kahn has shown a radicalism previously unknown among IMF leaders.

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Let's not give Griffin air time

By Alex Brummer, October 15, 2009

The timing could not be worse for the BBC. The disclosure that the British National Party leader Nick Griffin has been invited to be a member of the Question Time panel on October 22 comes hard on the heels of a highly charged appearance by two BNP activists on Radio 1’s flagship current affairs programme Newsbeat — a show not known for hard-hitting journalism.

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Kraft's kosher queen will boost Cadbury

By Alex Brummer, October 8, 2009

Irene Rosenfeld is as far from the traditional image of the all-powerful, all-conquering American boardroom tycoon that you can imagine. Yet, as chairman and chief executive officer of Kraft — the food company with revenues of $42bn and 98,000 employees — she is just one of 12 women CEOs running a top 500 US corporation. Forbes magazine has listed her among the ten most powerful women in the world for two years running.

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Painting a distorted picture of the IDF

By Alex Brummer, September 17, 2009

One of the most enduring and inspiring images in the history of modern Israel is that of Rabbi Shlomo Goren, dressed in IDF military uniform, sounding the shofar at the Kotel in Jerusalem on its liberation in 1967.

Goren was IDF chief rabbi from 1948 to 1972, giving lie to the idea that religion in Israel’s army is something which began with Operation Cast Lead in Gaza in January.

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Jury out on whether Bernanke saved USA

By Alex Brummer, September 9, 2009

American presidents rarely gamble with the Federal Reserve Board, America’s central bank, and Barack Obama is no exception. So despite a strong Democratic claim to the job of chairman by Obama’s top economic adviser Lawrence Summers — scion of one of America’s most famous economic dynasties — “Helicopter” Ben Bernanke has been nominated to a second term in the most powerful job in global finance.

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Blood libel row merited Israeli outrage

By Alex Brummer, September 3, 2009

The row began as an item on the culture pages of Sweden’s best-selling newspaper Aftonbladet and ended as a diplomatic stalemate. It is significant because Sweden currently holds the presidency of the European Union.

On August 19, Donald Bostrom, a writer for the Swedish paper, ran a contentious report under the headline: “They plunder the organs of our sons.” The article claimed that young men from the West Bank and Gaza had been seized over the years by Israel Defence Forces and bodies returned to their families with missing organs.

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Pensions deficit will be close call for BT

By Alex Brummer, August 27, 2009

As chief executive of British Telecom, Ian Livingston is having a baptism of fire. The main focus of his first year in office has been cleaning up the mess at “global services” — the group’s growth business which foolishly underpriced communications contracts to big corporate and government clients.

Glasgow-born Livingston, 44, acted quickly to clear up that problem and put global services back on a sounder footing. He is now having to deal with an even bigger and more troublesome legacy — the group’s pension fund.

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This headline might be all you read

By Alex Brummer, August 20, 2009

The importance of headlines in framing the narrative of an event is critical. The only reason, for instance, that some people still believe that Israel was involved in a “massacre” at the Jenin refugee camp on the West Bank in April 2002 is because the word appeared in a front-page Guardian headline.

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Bernanke: undoing what another Jew started?

By Alex Brummer, August 13, 2009

As Wall Street bankers and legislators headed to their yachts and the beaches of America’s east coast this August, they had the words of Ben Bernanke, Federal Reserve chairman, ringing in their ears. Two years after the official beginning of the credit crunch on August 9, 2007, Mr Bernanke — America’s most powerful economic policymaker — signalled for the first time that the US central bank may soon have to think about removing the “punch bowl” of near-zero interest rates and easy credit.

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How Goldman Sachs came roaring back

By Alex Brummer, July 30, 2009

We have been around for 140 years, and intend to be here for another 140 years, a senior London-based Goldman Sachs banker informed me the other day. Amid the carnage among the global investment banks, Goldman has emerged from the credit crisis least damaged and most defiant.

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Media vultures seize on ‘brutality’ claims

By Alex Brummer, July 23, 2009

The relentless media challenge over the conduct of Israel’s January Gaza campaign continues apace. The latest bout of criticism stems from a report by the Israeli-based NGO Breaking the Silence (Shovrim Shitka), a group which receives funding from the British, Spanish and Dutch governments, and collects testimony from veterans and serving IDF soldiers.

In its latest dossier, provided first to the Independent on July 15, it charges that Israeli soldiers were repeatedly encouraged to place their own safety above those of Palestinian civilians.

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Sir Philip's grand designs for Bhs

By Alex Brummer, July 16, 2009

At 57 years old and several billion pounds to the good, you might think that retail entrepreneur Sir Philip Green would be thinking of hanging up his boots. But the burly tycoon who five years ago was rebuffed in his effort to takeover Marks & Spencer is as restless and ambitious as ever.

Whereas many retailers are struggling to survive the slump, he is anxious to expand. Indeed, he is as ambitious now to take his retail empire to the next level as at any time since he took control of Bhs in 2000 and Arcadia — then run by his mate Stuart Rose — in 2002.

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Pressure group must keep up pressure

By Alex Brummer, July 9, 2009

The need for scrupulous monitoring of coverage of the core Middle East conflict in the British media has been evident since the outbreak of the second Intifada in autumn 2000. But it was not until the second Israel-Lebanon war in the summer of 2006 that a group of philanthropists and like-minded young professionals decided to move into the vacuum.

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Not just any broiges. An M&S broiges

By Alex Brummer, July 2, 2009

To mark the 125th anniversary of Marks & Spencer, executive chairman Sir Stuart Rose commissioned a glossy “coffee table” history, replete with accounts of the retailer’s innovations down the decades.

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For a media award, just ‘monitor’ Israel

By Alex Brummer, June 25, 2009

It is a tribute to Israel’s vibrant democracy that groups like B’Tselem, the Israeli NGO which monitors human rights abuses in the occupied territories, flourish. Reports from the group have dealt with issues including torture, fatal shootings by security forces, expropriation of land and discrimination in planning decisions in East Jerusalem, as well as house demolitions and violence by Israeli settlers.

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