Up Front: February 2010

Bankers banquet

This marks the 23rd time Business North Carolina has named a Mover and Shaker of the Year, and like our current pick, more than a third have been bankers. Their tally grows even greater when you consider that the fifth Mover and Shaker was NationsBank’s four-man merger team. Or that two-time winner Erskine Bowles made his bones — plus millions — as an investment banker, though he was selected for brokering the balanced-budget deal as Bill Clinton’s chief of staff and, eight years later, for becoming president of the UNC system.

But no winner — not even the few true rogues who have made it onto the M&S roster — raised as many eyebrows as our latest likely will, especially for the reason we’re honoring him. But as writer Dan Gearino says, “For every narrative there is a counter-narrative, and BNC is offering an alternative view of America’s favorite whipping boy.”

Dan approached this assignment with tongue tightly tucked in cheek, though I’m not so sure that’s where it was lodged when he finished it. But the dollop of irony with which he seasoned the piece, which begins on page 36, is distilled into the scorn that drips from his regular column, which grew out of the research he did for the Mover and Shaker story. You’ll find it on page 14. And trust me, this is not the kind of civics lesson you learned in school.

 

Speaking of hard lessons, this special issue of BNC — our annual Business Handbook — could serve as a textbook on tough times. While most economists seem to think we’re coming out of the Great Recession, not all agree on what course recovery will follow and how long it will take for things to return to normal. And as anybody who understands North Carolina knows, each region of the state is unique. That’s why we asked five economists to forecast what 2010 is likely to bring their way.

They left their rose-colored glasses at home. But come what may, this, too, will pass. And this magazine, whose job is to chronicle business in one very special state, will be here to tell you all about it.