In more than five decades with Citi, William 'Bill' Rhodes, the firm's former senior vice chairman and senior international officer, has worked with senior business leaders, statesmen, and strongmen and brokered immense financial deals while looking across the table at finance ministers ...and up the barrels of guns trained on him.
He has earned the cooperation of Fidel Castro over cigars and the admiration of Rupert Murdoch, who said of Rhodes, 'By dogged hard work, Bill forms important and great relationships. Everyone knows Bill. Everyone trusts Bill'.
From these and other experiences, Rhodes has learned a lifetime of lessons about managing amid crises--and, more important, how to lead prudently, decisively, and effectively to prevent crises from ever happening in the first place.
In Banker to the World, Rhodes presents his collected wisdom, best-practices, analysis, and anecdotes in one essential volume on the creation of value through leadership - and on the importance of leading by one's values. Dramatically illustrated by more than two dozen examples, Rhodes's principles offer an excellent foundation for leaders at all levels.
Having honed his skills in high-level negotiations around the world - including those with the Sandinistas, heads of state, and corporate CEOs in situations ranging from the opening of post-apartheid South Africa and the defusing of the Latin American 'debt bomb' to the forestalling of the nationalization of Citi assets in Venezuela - Rhodes dispenses invaluable advice, including:
Lead boldly and decisively
Know when to disregard caution for caution's sake and always insist on a neutral negotiating atmosphere.
Anticipate problems by visualizing their impact
Get ahead of risk by taking a comprehensive view of potential obstacles
Confront problems directly and proactively
When faced with a critical situation, going directly to its epicenter is what turns a crisis into an opportunity.
Examples include how Rhodes:
- Negotiated with submachine gun-wielding Sandinistas in Nicaragua
- Resolved contentious board room negotiations over Latin America's debt bomb of the early 1980s
- Purchased a 20% stake in China’s Guangdong Development bank in 2008, one of first stakes by a Western bank in a major Chinese bank
- Managed through the shocks of the Asian Financial Crisis of 1997-98.
- Opened Citigroup's first office in Israel in 1996
Along the way, Rhodes gives fresh insight into the troubled behemoth that is Citigroup and spins a few yarns, such as the time he met with Fidel Castro and won a box of cigars in a bet. A pragmatist who strongly believes that open trade leads to economic and political progress, Rhodes imparts what he has learned over five decades to a younger generation and leaves a lasting legacy that will be relevant in the current global crisis -and future ones as well.
About The Author
Bill Rhodes is President and CEO of William R. Rhodes Global Advisors, LLC, and professor-at-large at Brown University. He is also a senior advisor for Citi, having stepped back from full-time responsibilities after more than 53 years with the institution. He is the retired senior vice chairman and senior international officer of Citigroup and Citibank.
Banker to the World by William R Rhodes is published by McGraw-Hill Professional, May 2011, Hardcover, £17.99