Looking Forward to a New Decade

For the first time in many years, Mary Claire and I had our family join us at our home in Blackhawk for the entire holiday season. The Bay Area at this time of year has winter, but a more temperate and rain-filled winter than one finds back on the east coast. Last evening I sat in the rain at the Emerald Bowl, hoping that my alma mater, Boston College, could find a little Christmas magic to upset the USC Trojans. But after an exciting first half that ended 14-13, the Eagles fell back to earth and were beaten 24-13. In between winter rain storms there have been a number of days in the high 50s to low 60s, which has allowed me to work on a rusty golf game with my son Jordan. We are looking forward to celebrating New Year’s Day with friends & family.

As we reflect back on this year, I trust all of us are looking forward to better times in 2010. While no one is predicting a huge upswing in GDP, everyone does agree that the Great Recession is over and that this is a time of rebuilding for the global economy. Last January I wrote in Playbook, “The unemployment rate of 7.2% announced last week could easily climb above 10% by the end of the first quarter if the various stimulus plans fall short.” Unfortunately, the U.S. unemployment rate climbed to over 10% — the damage that it did to the consumer and overall economy is still being assessed. We look forward to a recovery that will start to bring down the unemployment rate to match those of earlier recoveries. Treasury Secretary Geithner has tried to reassure us that the Obama team will be vigilant against excess risk in the financial system to protect us from another financial crisis. I personally hope that we all benefit from at least a 5-7 year recovery cycle.

Early last January we had just completed our acquisition of Asset International. While the first year, particularly the first two quarters, were challenging, we are pleased with the progress we have made on transitioning the business to an increasingly digital world and one where community remains at the center of its universe. We added The Trade in July and Strategic Insight in August. Our focus during the close of ‘09 was on creating one company, with a common corporate culture of excellence, focused on the institutional financial markets around the globe. As we turn to 2010, we plan on continuing to grow both organically and through strategic acquisitions that will add value to our existing brands. Today approximately 50% of our revenue comes from data and analytics; online revenue, research and events contribute another 30%; and print contributes approximately 20%. Our brands have retained their leadership position and our clients are once again turning to them to rebuild their market positions and to find new customers in New York, London and elsewhere around the globe.

Happy New Year & a Warm Welcome to 2010!