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Banker to the World: Leadership Lessons from the Front Lines of Global Finance | [William Rhodes]

Banker to the World: Leadership Lessons from the Front Lines of Global Finance

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."
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Publisher's Summary

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.

You may not be presented with challenges such as restructuring a nation's multibillion-dollar debt or dealing with Zimbabwean president Robert Mugabe. But in Banker to the World, Bill Rhodes gives takeaway lessons on leading with character, tact, and determination that any manager, executive, or government official will use again and again to evaluate challenges, anticipate responses, and be more decisive in navigating crises of any size.

©2011 McGraw-Hill (P)2011 McGraw-Hill Education

What the Critics Say

"...Once the immediate worry of a string of bank failures has abated, Berlin and Paris should then go about the business of restructuring errant countries' bank loans. The global community has been through this before. For a primer, Angela Merkel, Nicolas Sarkozy, and David Cameron should read the short, breezily written but instructive book Banker to the World: Leadership Lessons from the Front Lines of Global Finance...by now-retired banker Bill Rhodes, who quarterbacked numerous, complex restructurings." (Steve Forbes, "What's German for TARP", Forbes.com)

"Mr. Rhodes was one of the few members of the financial establishment to sense that the world was on the brink of a calamity in 2007 (most of the prophets of doom were either academic theoreticians or maverick financiers).... In Banker to the World...Mr. Rhodes succeeds in hammering home three lessons that we need to take to heart if we are to have any chance of navigating the troubled waters that lie ahead.... Bankers to the world like Mr. Rhodes are buffetted from one unpredictable storm to another. They are forever on the verge of being ruined by events. And they rely on the seat of their pants as much as the power of their intellects. Mr. Rhodes is rightly proud of his record in defusing debt bombs and calming financial storms. Let's hope that his successors will be able to make similar boasts in the decades to come." (The Wall Street Journal)

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