In this article, George Clooney lets hedge fund manager Dan Loeb have it.
Loeb has bought a piece of Sony Films and is now telling Sony what to do, and Clooney will have none of it.
His words will sound eerily familiar to all those who are fed up with the hedge fund managers who are pouring millions into charter schools and who think they know how to reform the nation’s public schools (testing, competition, no-excuses, harsh discipline, etc.).
““I’ve been reading a lot about Daniel Loeb, a hedge fund guy who describes himself as an activist but who knows nothing about our business, and he is looking to take scalps at Sony because two movies in a row underperformed? When does the clock stop and start for him at Sony? Why didn’t he include Skyfall, the 007 movie that grossed a billion dollars, or Zero Dark Thirty or Django Unchained? And what about the rest of a year that includes Elysium, Captain Phillips, American Hustle and The Monuments Men? You can’t cherry pick a small time period and point to two films that didn’t do great. It makes me crazy. Fortunately, this business is run by people who understand that the movie business ebbs and flows and the good news is they are ignoring his calls to spin off the entertainment assets. How any hedge fund guy can call for responsibility is beyond me, because if you look at those guys, there is no conscience at work. It is a business that is only about creating wealth, where when they fail, they get bailed out and where nobody gets fired. A guy from a hedge fund entity is the single least qualified person to be making these kinds of judgments, and he is dangerous to our industry.”
Dan Loeb is on the board of Eva Moskowitz’s Success Academy charter chain in New York City. He recently donated $3 million to the chain. He was the first honoree at the Success Academy gala last May. Loeb said, “
“Success is a completely disruptive business model,” Loeb said in the ballroom of the Mandarin Oriental. “Not only does your money go to changing kids’ lives, but if we really succeed, we’ll set a higher bar for all schools to meet.”
The Success model includes teachers whose intensity is a mix of Internet startup and trading desk, and a vast amount of training, maniacal attention to data and replicable processes, Loeb said.
“It’s the Google of charter schools. We’re growing faster, it’s logarithmic,” he added, saying that 11,500 students will be enrolled in two years, up from 7,000 in August.”
And what a gala it was!
Loeb sat next to Jeb Bush. The keynote speaker for the evening was New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, who was introduced by Merryl Tisch, chair of the New York State Board of Regents.