Business Scene

Arkadi Gaydamak, whose political ambitions were thwarted recently, is a Teflon man of sorts, in that no one sticks to him.

Arkadi Gaydamak 88 (photo credit: )
Arkadi Gaydamak 88
(photo credit: )
  • GLOBES, ISRAEL's financial daily, has for the past decade been the annual host of the Israel Business Conference. This year it finds more reason than ever to bring international experts to Israel to discuss economic and political trends in the shadow of the crisis in the US economy and the danger of a global recession. Also tabled for discussion is how China is coping with this new economic reality. The conference opens at Tel Aviv's David Intercontinental Hotel on December 14. Among the plenary sessions will be: global projections for 2009; how to stimulate growth during the financial crisis; testing Israel's economy; and examining the role of government in managing an advanced economy. This is strictly a business conference without the usual ministerial adornments. The only member of the government expected to participate is Justice Minister Daniel Friedmann, for a session that calls for lawyers and accountants to take responsibility. Former finance minister Avraham Shochat will also participate in a session, but he's no longer an active politician even though he is still a member of the Labor Party.
  • PRIME MINISTER Ehud Olmert has been referred to as "the Teflon man," because allegations against him did not stick, even when he was charged and the case went to court. Business tycoon and multifaceted philanthropist Arkadi Gaydamak, whose political ambitions were thwarted when he received so little in return for giving so much, is also a Teflon man of sorts, in that no one sticks to him. Gaydamak has dismissed a series of managers and middlemen from the Jerusalem Betar soccer team that he owns; has been embroiled in legal battles with Uri Shani, Roni Mana and others with whom he initially had a close business relationship; has dismissed Yossi Milstein, who for four years was his around-the-clock right-hand man, but was eased aside by lawyer Yossi Segev, to whom Gaydamak transferred power of attorney for some of his business concerns; and has now parted company from Segev. Only a week ago, Segev had taken over from Milstein as Gaydamak's spokesman, but he has left the stable because Gaydamak is too demanding and, according to reports, did not leave Segev and other lawyers in his office sufficient time to deal with other clients.
  • INSTITUTIONS AND organizations whose continued activity depends largely on donations from the private sector are going to have it tougher than ever in the foreseeable future as purse strings tighten and foundations and individual donors take a more hard-line attitude toward requests for help. Acutely aware of the new difficulties posed in fund raising, the Association of Friends of Ben-Gurion University recently appointed Meir Nitzan as its CEO and then named Prof. Yitzhak Peterburg as its chairman. Both have joined its global fund-raising network.
  • FOLLOWING SEVEN years of negotiations between the Israel Broadcasting Authority and Tali, the organization that collects royalties on behalf of scriptwriters and directors, an agreement was finally reached last week. The negotiations began in 2001, but when it was obvious that they were going nowhere and had reached a dead end, Tali sued the IBA in the Tel Aviv District Court. After Mordechai Sklar became director-general of the IBA and Moshe Gavish was subsequently appointed chairman in January 2007, negotiations with Tali were renewed with goodwill on both sides. The court was approached for permission to take the case to arbitration using retired Supreme Court justice Dalia Dorner, who is president of the Press Council, as arbiter. Dorner, who has a gift for conflict resolution, managed to get both sides to compromise. She did so in such a convincing manner that each side expressed appreciation for her valuable contribution to bringing the matter to a mutually satisfactory close. The agreement gives scriptwriters and directors copyright over their material, even if it was commissioned by the IBA, which agreed to pay royalties retroactive from 2003. Tali CEO Yahloma Levi said the settlement was the beginning of a new chapter in relations between Tali and the IBA. As a result of the agreement, Tali appealed to the Tel Aviv District Court to withdraw its suit, and the court granted the request.
  • THE BOARD of directors at Gazit Globe has approved Eran Laniado to fill the company's newly created position of deputy director for planning and business development. Laniado, 42, was previously responsible for strategic planning in the business development division of Bank Hapoalim.
  • ACE AUTODEPOT has announced the appointment of Ronit Haviv as deputy marketing manager. Haviv, 33, was previously with HOT, where she served as manager of the communications and marketing division.
  • THERE'S a truism, no matter how trite, in every adage, and one that applies right now is: "The bigger they are, the harder they fall." Unemployment is not a picnic for anyone, but for the little guy engaged in some menial, low-paying job, it's probably easier to find another source of employment than it is for some high-flying executive whose standard of living suddenly drops. For people in this category, job loss is not only loss of income but also a severely humiliating loss of status; many friends and acquaintances do a disappearing act for fear of being asked to give or guarantee a loan or being asked to create new jobs in their own enterprises. Aware of the psychological impact of such a situation, Vilder Public Relations has established a special department for senior executives who have been dismissed in recent months. Company CEO Zvi Vilder, whose firm represents 85 leading business groups, says it is important to maintain the morale of people who were in top management positions and suddenly find themselves without a reason to get up in the morning. With this in mind, he is conducting workshops to help people to prepare an impressive CV, both in writing and on DVD, so that prospective employers can listen at their own convenience to job applicants talk about professional qualifications, past experiences and achievements without having to schedule a special appointment that could lead nowhere. By the very nature of its work, every large PR firm has a huge and varied list of contacts and is in a position to put different clients in touch with each other. Vilder intends to market the unemployed executives and will introduce them as people who recently concluded a period of tenure and are examining possibilities of a new career. He will also expose them to the media for interviews, which will make prospective employers aware of some of the good material on the market. In addition, Vilder will initiate invitations for his clients to professional conferences, seminars and symposia where they can network with former business colleagues and possibly find employment opportunities.