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Here’s a real Coup: IBS in talks with Christie Hefner

This is like bringing the captain of the Titanic in to teach a boat safety class to NFL players:

The International Business School is in an ongoing discussion with former Chairwoman and Chief Executing Officer of Playboy Enterprises Christie Hefner ’74 about how she can become affiliated with the International Business School, according to IBS Senior Associate Director of Communications Matthew Parillo.

Hefner became the chairman and CEO of Playboy Enterprises in 1988 before stepping down this January. In an e-mail to the Justice, Hefner wrote, “Now that I have stepped down as Chairman [and] CEO of Playboy Enterprises, I have the time to become more involved in a variety of activities that I care about.”

Hefner wrote that she is interested in collaborating with the IBS for three reasons: “I believe passionately in the idea and the ideal of [IBS] that, as Justice Brandeis put it, ‘business can be a force for good.’ The fact that [two thirds] of the students are from outside of the U.S. makes the school especially relevant to today’s global challenges and of [particular] interest to me. And as Brandeis is my alma mater and [IBS] is a relatively young business school, I feel that I could make a larger contribution here than [at] other business schools.”

Hefner wrote, “It is early in the discussions, but I expect that my involvement will certainly include coming out to speak and to interact with the students [at Brandeis].”

Parillo declined to comment on the specific options that the IBS is discussing with Hefner regarding how she can become more involved in the IBS community. He said, however, that the IBS wants to enlist Hefner’s help in achieving its mission statement, which, according to the IBS Web site, aims “to advance knowledge on globalization and to train principled leaders for the global economy.”

Parillo said that talks with Hefner began last December and that “it was [Hefner’s] decision to reopen discussions when she decided to leave [Playboy Enterprises].” In an e-mail to the Justice, Executive Director of Media and Public Affairs Dennis Nealon confirmed that Hefner was only interested in colloborating with the IBS and not the University in general.

In an e-mail to the Justice, Parillo confirmed that as a volunteer leader Hefner will not receive any monetary compensation.

Dean of the IBS Bruce Magid declined to comment.

Hefner is a participant in the IBS CEO forum, which brings leading business executives to speak at the IBS.

As a participant of the CEO forum, Hefner last visited the campus Feb. 25 of this year. Angelique Ahmed (GRAD) recalled finding Hefner’s discussion “very interesting as a business student.”Ahmed said, “I think that it’s a brilliant idea that [Hefner] may become more involved with the IBS.”

Parillo stated, “There is no time table and the decisions that need to be made are going to be thoughtful.” He said that an important issue to consider is the fact that Hefner is located in Chicago whereas “some of the executives that help [the IBS] and serve [the IBS] on various aspects … are local.”

According to Parillo, “What we’re doing is pretty common. .. where we’re always in touch with business leaders and we try to engage them as best as we can.” “We would be excited to work out a process by which she can help our students,” he said.


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