McDonald’s CFO Matthew Paull is trading in the pinstripes for corduroy, leaving his lucrative finance career for the somewhat less lucrative world of higher education. After fourteen years under the refulgent golden arches, Paull will begin teaching economics and finance part-time at an unspecified university in San Diego next year while continuing to serve on the Best Buy board of directors, CFO.com reports.
Before compiling BigMac projections, Paull “fell in love” with teaching at the University of Illinois, but “couldn’t support the lifestyle that I enjoy on a teacher’s salary.” This calls to mind Dealbreaker’s Tuesday poll: “Would you be working in a field other than finance if you could make the same amount of money?” 70.9% responded affirmatively, suggesting that the “passion for corporate finance” is largely synonymous with “passion for pecuniary remuneration.”
Why McDonald’s CFO Is Heading for Academia [CFO.com]
The revelations of George Tenet were the talk of the Sunday morning political shows this week. Despite Tenet’s defense of his own work and the work of the rest of the Central Intelligence Agency, there is still the widespread impression that our primary intelligence gathering agency is broken. The causes of the CIA’s problems are widely debated—some say it is too centralized, others that it is overstaffed by professional bureaucrats, others that it is still built around a defunct Cold War model, to name a few favorites. But Steve Sailer has recently contributed a new idea: Wall Street broke the CIA.
“CIA agents get paid like normal government bureaucrats, so the Agency gets normal government bureaucrat-quality workers,” Sailer writes. “Meanwhile, the pay at its natural competitors for the best and the brightest, such as Wall Street firms, has rocketed upwards.”
But we’re not sure it’s merely a problem of the CIA being unable to recruit the brightest college graduates. We personally know a couple of graduates from top schools—two of whom had at least a working knowledge of Arabic when they graduated—who never even got a call back interview at the agency. We can’t help but suspect that the agency isn’t even trying to recruit the “best and the brightest” these days.
New Yorker Editor David Remnick dropped by Princeton to give a lecture the other day. The Daily Princetonian reports an interesting exchange during the qestion and answer period.
When asked by a student in attendance if he had any advice for Princeton students interested in journalism, Remnick — known for his self-deprecating humor in conversation — responded: “Goldman Sachs.”
Okay. We get it. Real world experience can help journalists because, after all, the world they are writing about is supposed to resemble the real world. But David, if you send your promising journalists to Goldman, how are you going to get them to accept journalist salaries afterwards? What’s more, how many aspiring journalists can even handle the basic math required to work at Goldman? From what we can tell, most experienced journalists couldn’t handle the math.
Remnick ’81 faults journalists [Daily Princetonian]
The Aleksey Vayner story continued to erupt today, splattering its hot flow all over the internets and even onto a real, inky fingers newspaper. Here’s a quick rundown of all the latest news on Aleksey Vayner.
• Under the name Aleksey Garber, he was the subject of a withering profile in Yale’s Rumpus. [IvyGate]
• The New York Sun runs an article on the Vayner video. Not much by way of new facts here but notable because the story has now officially broken out of the confines of the internet and email forwards. [New York Sun]
• Vayner is sending out cease and desist letters to bloggers posting his photos and video. [IvyGate]
• A woman who seems to be Vayner’s sister was profiled on CNN Money a year and a half ago. She’s a real-estate investor and seems as enamored as Aleksey with motivational speaking. [CNNMoney.com]
• IvyGate calls Vayner the “Lord of Lies” in an item citing “Vayner’s fraudulent investment firm,” “Vayner’s fraudulent charity,” and “Vayner’s fraudulent book about the Holocaust.” Here’s what they say. The firm: might not exist at all, Aleksey seems to lack proper licensing and may have plagiarized the firm’s website. The charity: probably totally bogus and sports a seal of approval from a charity rating organization that it never earned and has been asked to remove. The book: entire section seems copied from an encyclopedia. [Ivy Gate]
• Aleksey Vayner is super popular…on FaceBook. He’s got 743 friends!
Anyone know Aleksey? Or have more stories about him? Send them to tips (at) dealbreaker (dot) com.
[Previous DealBreaker coverage of Aleksey Vayner]
Well, that was a close call. For a few moments we were worried you might miss out on Aleksey Vayner’s now world-famous (or at least Wall Street famous) video “Impossible Is Nothing.” His site went down and the video with it. Aleksey may have had second thoughts. Or maybe all the traffic it was getting crashed it.
No need to worry. The video is back, courtesy of the gang at IvyGate who were thoughtful enough to preserve the video on YouTube. (Link here.)
You might also want to check out the website for his, uhm, “hedge fund.” As commenter Mike pointed out, the “Our Philosophy” section is a work of wonder. The key to success at “Vayner Capital Management, LLC” is that they will “Never Lose Money.”
And one last note: we still cannot get over the nagging feeling that somehow this is an elaborate set up. We’ve had confirmation from a Yalie that he’s for real but still. The name is so Dickensian-perfect it’s unbelievable. Vayner? Vain-er?
Managing money for a major university is like square dancing in a minefield. Faculty members absurdly act like they own universities, and often exploit their institutions for short-term, personal and idiosyncratic goals—not exactly a good recipe for smart investing. Calls to divest from whatever country the professoriate has decided to hate lately are a good example here. It’s probably just not worth the trouble if you a big time investment adviser to take the job. Why not go work for a hedge fund?
Which may be what University of Texas endowment manager Bob Boldt was thinking when he resigned recently. Paul Kedrosky sums up the situation nicely:
Only in the deranged world of universities would an 8.5% annual rate of return on a $10+billion portfolio have you on the outs with your bosses. It has happened again, however. Bob Boldt, the head of University of Texas Investment Management Company (UTIMCO) resigned, effective last Friday, to return to the private sector.
Boldt resigns from the UT Investment Management Co. [Associated Press in the Houston Chronicle]
Another Endowment Manager Bites the Dust [Infectious Greed]