November 3, 2009
What will the American economic system look like in the months and years ahead? Who are the innovators currently shaping the future? And what will be the role of business in that future?
President of the Aspen Institute, Walter Isaacson invites Niall Ferguson, MA, D.Phil., Laurence A. Tisch Professor of History at Harvard University and William Ziegler Professor at Harvard Business School, Indra Nooyi, Chair and CEO of Pepsico, Eric Schmidt, Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer, Google, and Nassim Taleb, scholar of randomness and risk, literary essayist, and derivatives trader, to consider the issues in the media and on the public mind.
About Niall Ferguson
Niall Ferguson is Laurence A. Tisch Professor of History at Harvard University, a Senior Research Fellow of Jesus College, Oxford University, and a Senior Fellow of the Hoover Institution, Stanford University. The bestselling author of Paper and Iron, The House of Rothschild, The Pity of War, The Cash Nexus, Empire, Colossus, and The War of the World, he also writes regularly for newspapers and magazines all over the world. He has written and presented four highly successful television documentary series for British television: Empire, American Colossus, The War of the World, and, most recently, The Ascent of Money. He, his wife and their three children divide their time between the United Kingdom and the United States.
About Walter Isaacson
Walter Isaacson is the President and CEO of the Aspen Institute, a nonpartisan educational and policy studies institute based in Washington, D.C. He has been the Chairman and CEO of CNN and the editor of Time Magazine. He is the author of Einstein: His Life and Universe (April 2007), Benjamin Franklin: An American Life (2003), and Kissinger: A Biography (1992), and coauthor of The Wise Men: Six Friends and the World They Made (1986). Isaacson was born on May 20, 1952, in New Orleans. He is a graduate of Harvard College and of Pembroke College of Oxford University, where he was a Rhodes Scholar.He began his career at the Sunday Times of London and then the New Orleans Times-Picayune/States-Item. He joined Time Magazine in 1978 and served as a political correspondent, national editor and editor of new media before becoming the magazine's 14th editor in 1996. He became Chairman and CEO of CNN in 2001, and then president and CEO of the Aspen Institute in 2003. He is the chairman of the board of Teach for America, which recruits recent college graduates to teach in underserved communities. He is also chairman of the board of the U.S.-Palestinian Partnership, set up by the U.S. State Department to promote economic and educational opportunities for the Palestinian people. He is on the Board of United Airlines, Tulane University, Society for Science & the Public, and the Bipartisan Policy Center. He was appointed after Hurricane Katrina to be the vice-chairman of the Louisiana Recovery Authority.He lives with his wife and daughter in Washington, DC.
About Indra Nooyi
Indra Nooyi is Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of PepsiCo, which has the world's largest portfolio of billion-dollar food and beverage brands, including 18 different product lines that each generate more than $1 billion in annual retail sales. PepsiCo's main businesses Frito-Lay, Quaker, Pepsi-Cola, Tropicana and Gatorade make hundreds of nourishing foods and beverages that bring joy to consumers in over 200 countries. Mrs. Nooyi is the chief architect of PepsiCo's multi-year growth strategy, Performance with Purpose, which is focused on balancing strong financial returns with giving back to communities worldwide. Mrs. Nooyi was named President and CEO on October 1, 2006 and assumed the role of Chairman on May 2, 2007. Prior to becoming CEO, Mrs. Nooyi served as President and Chief Financial Officer beginning in 2001, when she was also named to PepsiCo's Board of Directors. Between February 2000 and April 2001, Mrs. Nooyi was Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of PepsiCo. Between 1996 and 1999, Mrs. Nooyi was Senior Vice President of Corporate Strategy and Development. Before joining PepsiCo in 1994, Mrs. Nooyi spent four years as Senior Vice President of Strategy and Strategic Marketing for Asea Brown Boveri, a Zurich-based industrials company. Between 1986 and 1990, Mrs. Nooyi worked for Motorola, where she was Vice President and Director of Corporate Strategy and Planning. Prior to Motorola, she spent six years directing international corporate strategy projects at The Boston Consulting Group. Mrs. Nooyi began her career in India, where she held product manager positions at Johnson & Johnson and at Mettur Beardsell, Ltd., a textile firm. Mrs. Nooyi serves as a member of the boards of The Consumer Goods Forum, Catalyst and Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts. She is a Successor Fellow of Yale Corporation and she currently serves as Chairman of the U.S.-India Business Council. She holds a BS from Madras Christian College, an MBA from the Indian Institute of Management in Calcutta and a Master of Public and Private Management from Yale University. Mrs. Nooyi is married and has two daughters.
About Eric Schmidt
Since joining Google in 2001, Eric Schmidt has helped grow the company from a Silicon Valley startup to a global enterprise. Under his leadership, Google has dramatically scaled its infrastructure and broadened its offerings while maintaining a culture of strong innovation. His background uniquely prepares him to lead Google's efforts toward technological solutions that focus on users. With founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page, and the rest of the executive team, Eric oversees the company's technical and business strategy. Prior to joining Google, Eric was the Chairman and CEO of Novell and Chief Technology Officer at Sun Microsystems, Inc., where he led the development of Java, Sun's platform-independent programming technology. Earlier in his career, Eric was a member of the research staff at Xerox Palo Alto Research Center (PARC) and held positions at Bell Laboratories and Zilog. He holds a bachelor's degree in electrical engineering from Princeton University as well as a master's and Ph.D. in computer science from the University of California, Berkeley. Eric is a member of President Obama's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology. He was elected to the National Academy of Engineering in 2006 and inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Sciences as a fellow in 2007. Eric also chairs the board of the New America Foundation.
About Nassim Taleb Nassim Nicholas Taleb is distinguished professor of risk engineering at the Polytechnic Institute at New York University. He is a principal at Universa Investments. Taleb is also the author of The New York Times best-seller The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable (Random House, 2007). Taleb is combination of a scholar of randomness and risk, literary essayist, and derivatives trader. He is known for a multidisciplinary approach to the role of the high-impact rare event (the "Black Swan"). His current program is to design ways to live in a world we don't quite understand and to help "robustify" the world against the Black Swan.