A glimpse of the past
I've been retired for nearly 19 years, and it's sometimes difficult to remember what it was like to hold down a regular job. My memories of what I did as a magazine writer and editor were revived by this clipping from the March 11, 1972 issue of Business Week, where I was employed for 31 years before retiring. The clipping was retrieved by a friend while cleaning out his files.
The clipping is a Publisher's memo that describes how a colleague and I reported and wrote a cover story about the late Michel Fribourg. He was a secretive, Belgian-born American who was CEO of Continental Grain Co., a giant, family-owned, multinational corporation now known as ContiGroup. A competitor described him as "the premier figure in the world trade in food during the 20th Century."
It took a considerable amount of journalistic detective work to prepare the article. Fribourg had carefully avoided publicity about himself and his 200-year old company until we prevailed upon him to allow us to tell his fascinating story of business adventures.
The article was published at a time when federal regulations and the dictates of public relations were inducing many traditionally publicity-shy companies to reveal details of their corporate operations to show that "our company has nothing to hide."
I was the project's editor. The Publisher's memo, which was written by the magazine's managing editor, was overly imaginative about my knowledge of Middle Eastern languages.