Speaking Videos

Excerpts from some of Peter’s recent speaking engagements.

Aspen Institute

Peter was a featured guest at the Aspen Institute’s Economic Policy Summit in July, 2017 and was interviewed by the Institute’s founder and CEO Walter Isaacson and David Leonhardt of the New York Times. Here are some clips from that discussion.

Watch Aspen Institute video clips

Peter speaking at the Aspen Institute Economic Security Summit

Speaking Biography

Peter A. Georgescu is Chairman Emeritus of Young & Rubicam Inc. Elected as the company’s eighth CEO in 1993, Mr. Georgescu was the first Chairman or CEO of Young & Rubicam Inc. born outside of the United States. Under Mr. Georgescu’s leadership, Young & Rubicam successfully transformed from a private to a publicly-held company.

Within the marketing community, he is known as a leading proponent of creating unified communications programs, agency accountability for measuring the impact of communications programs, and structuring value-based agency compensation. In recognition of his contributions to the marketing and advertising industry, Mr. Georgescu was elected to the Advertising Hall of Fame in 2001.

Mr. Georgescu immigrated to the United States from Romania in 1954. He received his B.A. with cum laude honors from Princeton and an MBA from the Stanford Business School. Mr. Georgescu’s belief in the power of education has fueled his involvement with organizations such as A Better Chance and Polytechnic University, and he has served on the Board of Directors for both. The University of Alabama and Cornell College in Iowa have awarded Mr. Georgescu honorary doctorate degrees. Mr. Georgescu is also the recipient of the Ellis Island Medal of Honor.

Mr. Georgescu is the author of 3 books: The Source of Success – asserting that personal values and creativity are the leading drivers of business success in the 21st Century; The Constant Choice – about the struggles between good and evil; and Capitalists, Arise! – examining the threat shareholder primacy poses the American way of life, and the solutions businesses can implement to heal our nation.

Speaking Topics

End Income Inequality, Grow the Middle Class, Heal the Nation

Peter Georgescu arrived in this country as a penniless Romanian refugee and rose to prominence as the CEO of Young & Rubicam. It’s an American Dream success story that could not play out in today’s economic environment – one that is plagued with disappearing jobs, flat wages, and a shrinking middle class. In his new book, Capitalists, Arise!, Georgescu argues that the stark reality of our current economic malaise and social breakdown can be attributed, in large part, to the short-term thinking spawned by shareholder primacy.

With deeply sobering statistics and new research, Geogescu points the way toward a future that will only be possible with enlightened capitalism.

So, how did we get here?

  • American business quickly and aggressively adapted to globalization by succumbing to the pressure to move jobs offshore.
  • The business community passionately embraced technology to eliminate even more domestic jobs.
  • Most importantly, corporations moved to keep wages – outside of management – almost flat for close to forty years.

Decisions and choices apparently made without a single care about how these decisions would affect our society. Combined, these corporate choices have diminished the buying power of the American public and lead to the decimation of our middle class.

The business industry has the most to gain from a healthy America, and the most to lose by social unrest and punitive taxation. According to Georgescu, business leaders can become a crucial part of the solution in two important ways:

  • Invest in the actual value creators – the employees. Start compensating fairly, which means a wage that enables employees to share amply in productivity increases and creative innovations. Before the early 1979s, wages and productivity were both rising. Now most gains from productivity go to shareholders, and not enough to employees.
  • Second, businesses must invest aggressively in their own operations, directing profit into productivity and innovation to boost real business performance. Today, too many corporations reduce investment in research and development and spend more on superficial brand building. As a result, we see a general decline in the value of their brands and other assets. This trend also retards new business, hampers growth of existing operations, and therefore reduces opportunities for job creation. To make up for those declines and anemic revenues, businesses buy back their stock (now at record levels) and thus artificially boost earnings per share.

Georgescu’s deepest hope is that fellow CEOs, executives and directors will take steps to push back against the pressures of shareholder primacy and begin to reshape free enterprise with a vision toward long-term profitability rather than short-term gain.

Good and Evil in the Business World

Traditionally, the advertising business is seen as an evil entity – trying and willing to do anything for a consumer to purchase a project or a service. As a scholar of good and evil, and also someone who has spent his entire career in advertising, Peter has a very interesting perspective on morality in the business world.

Hear Peter speak about:

  • The importance of understanding a company’s culture
  • Why doing the right thing in business is a win for everyone
  • How to understand and interpret “underlying evils” in the workplace

A Philosophical and Spiritual Element to Good and Evil

Georgescu’s rise to success did not come without turmoil, as he struggled to grasp humanity’s moral nature – why the decisions of some are driven by evil, and others by good. In The Constant Choice, Georgescu reflects on human behavior, and engages in a philosophical, scientific, and  spiritual exploration, as well as conversations with diverse, world-renowned thought leaders, including eminent evolutionary biologist Paul Ehrlich, Elie Wiesel, Sister Joan Chittester and Karen Armstrong.

Georgescu argues that: “We need to get outside ourselves, outside our own individual preoccupations. A common good based on common sense, along with a deeper understanding of the source of evil, matters more every day. A spiritual awareness of the nobler side of our natures matters more. We, each one of us, are capable of raising our game toward becoming better people as individuals, as communities or nations, as mankind.”

Far more than an inspirational story, Peter reveals a path for changing not only who we are, but the future of humanity.

Recent Presentations

  • Aspen Institute’s Economy Policy Summit–Aspen
  • Bryant Park-HSBC’s Business & Finance series–New York
  • Microsoft Political Action Committee–Seattle
  • The Bipartisan Policy Committee–Washington, DC
  • NASI, The National Academy of Social Insurance–New York
  • The Republican Club–New York
  • Georgetown Business School–Washington, D.C
  • HOPE Global Forum–Atlanta, GA