DiO Workshop day III: PhD colloquium

18 09 2009

Third and final DiO day. The morning slots were dedicated to a PhD colloquium (in collaboration with the Association for Business Communication). Ten people presented their research in five parallel sessions. Each participant was appointed one or two mentors.

I attended four presentations: first up was Kristian Hursti (Helsinki School of Economics). His talk on financial forecasts doubled as Kristian’s maiden speech, but it did not show. Kristian previously worked as a financial journalist at Reuters and has only recently embarked on a PhD project. My future colleague Jasper Vandenberghe (University College Ghent) then gave a presentation on self-justification in press releases.

Sabine Rettinger’s (Ludwig-Maximilians Universität München) talk on competence displays in – to quote Chris Braecke – Socratic coaching interactions illustrate, among other things, how coaches position themselves interactionally vis-à-vis their clients. The final presentation I attended was by Hana Blazkova (University of Birmingham) on involvement strategies in so-called business development network presentations.

Companies affected by the credit crunch

8 10 2008

As selected by De Morgen (8 Oct. 2008). UBS and KBC were left off the list. Worse, still: Iceland.

Fortis trade suspended until fog clears

5 10 2008

The shit has hit the fan. The CBFA, Belgium’s Banking, Finance and Insurance Commission has reportedly suspended Euronext trading of Fortis shares until the market can adapt to the BNP Paribas takeover. No official press release confirming this news could be found on the CBFA website at this time. Lame.

Flemish investment club shindig

4 10 2008

All eyes were set on Filip Dierckx, Fortis’ newest CEO, at the annual Flemish investment club conference in Antwerp today. Alas, Fortis cancelled at the last minute, sending apocalypse rumors and cholesterol levels flying.

This was an eye-opening day among corporate high rollers, financial analysts and frustrated investors. As I mingled with attendees and exhibitors during coffee breaks, I was casually told that it used to be fairly easy to make your first million on the stock market – yes, I kept the Lil’ Wayne jokes to myself – and that, as an entrepreneur, cornering a niche market is key. Just ask Omega Pharma.

(research mode: on) The CEO and CFO presentations provided rich arenas for displaying competence and illustrated, at least to this investment novice, how crucial the interpretive work of the audience (nodding, taking notes, asking questions, chatting) is in acknowledging and enacting the speaker’s expertise. These performances are research grants waiting to be written (research mode: off).

Lessons learned: Zetes is, IMHO, a company with killer technology and a sound business plan. KBC is sitting pretty for now. The art of public speaking is not exactly lost on Agfa Gevaert CEO Jo Cornu. Eyes-on-stalks boring. And Fortis? They’re in rocky waters. Expect more drama soon. In the meantime, roll with the punches. And please don’t make a run on it.

Prime Minister: Fortis to be dismantled

3 10 2008

At a press conference earlier today, Belgian Prime Minister Yves Leterme announced that the Fortis banking and insurance concern will be dismantled. Belgium will acquire Fortis Bank Belgium and the Netherlands have agreed to purchase ABN AMRO and Fortis Insurance The Netherlands for 16.8 billion euros. Luxemburg is expected to follow suit by nationalizing Fortis Bank Luxemburg. (Source: De Tijd, De Standaard).

BeNeLux authorities nationalize Fortis

28 09 2008

**UPDATE (11:53): Fortis issues press release,
shares continue slump, Dexia shares plummet**

De Tijd and The Standaard are reporting that the national governments of Belgium, The Netherlands and Luxemburg are set to become 49% minority owners of Fortis banking divisions in the BeNeLux region. The rescue operation will cost the taxpayer 11.2 billion euros. Fortis will sell off ABN AMRO shares to the highest bidder.

“Here today. Where tomorrow?” Fortis takeover imminent reports De Standaard

27 09 2008

**UPDATE (5:20pm): Nationalization a likely option
for Fortis (De Tijd, De Standaard)**

**UPDATE (4:29pm): Future of fortis
to be decided by Sunday 10pm (De Tijd)**

Breaking news: according to a report in De Standaard (in Dutch), Fortis, the Belgian-Dutch banking and insurance group, will be taken over by either BNP Paribas or ING. Negotiations are expected to resume Sunday morning. Fortis is the brainchild of Count Maurice Lippens, the éminence grise of Belgian industry, and the most prominent member of the BEL-20 index. Whatever agreement is reached by Monday morning will send shock waves through the markets. A Fortis bank run is the last thing the Belgian government needs right now. And I’m going out on a limb here, but Fortis may want to shelve its latest advertising campaign.