We did not set out to break any records with the 21st edition of the Brunswick Review. But it turns out that when you issue a call for leadership-themed content during a global pandemic, you get a big response. This Leadership issue runs to 128 pages, making it the largest magazine in the 12-year history of the Review.
That response started inside Brunswick, among our 1,300 professionals on six continents. A firm populated with former communications executives, former journalists, former lawyers, former bankers, social-media specialists, investor-relations experts, research analysts, literature majors, former business executives, former government officials—Brunswick needn’t order anyone to write for the Review. The magazine gives expression to a literary impulse that runs deep in the firm, and that’s highly sensitive to current events. Leadership may be a perennial topic, but the pandemic made it news.
The leaders profiled here—from legends like Bob Iger, David Rubenstein and Angela Merkel to next-gen standouts like Georgia Dawson, Kenji Yoshino and Dino Varkey—reflect the interests, expertise and vast networks of the Brunswick professionals who interviewed them. The editorial process mirrors an important part of how Brunswick serves clients: Before advising, we ask and we listen. A strong sense of Brunswick’s own leadership can be gleaned from Founder and Chairman Sir Alan Parker’s essay (p. 3), and from our interview with CEO Neal Wolin (p. 16).
Regina Merson thought COVID would end her new career as a cosmetics entrepreneur—who’d wear lipstick under a mask?—until her Latina customer base proved its durability (p. 46). In other stories here, the pandemic serves as the context for a broader and deeper meditation on leadership. For Leonard Lauder, the pandemic brings to mind the hardship his parents faced as they launched a cosmetics firm in the wake of the Depression and the Second World War (p. 25). For Oscar Munoz, the pandemic revealed, yet again, mankind’s potential for resilience and creativity (p. 40). For leaders across industry and age groups, the pandemic seems to have deepened the conviction that companies should serve interests other than shareholders. “It’s a different world,” says Rubenstein (p. 32).
On the eve of Angela Merkel’s final days as German Chancellor, the Review received a brilliant analysis (p. 88) of her storied political career from Brunswick Senior Advisor Carl Hohenthal, a former political correspondent for Germany’s premier national daily newspaper.
We hope that you’ll find these stories illuminating, and please reach out if we can answer any questions or help in any way.