On Tuesday, October 28, Mr. Francois M. de Visscher, president, de Visscher & Co., Inc. visited the two Pace Westchester campuses. He started his day at the Pleasantville campus, where he had luncheon with faculty and students and gave a lecture to several B.B.A. classes. In the evening he visited the Lubin Graduate Center in White Plains where he attended a reception and lectured to several MBA classes.
Mr. de Visscher holds a B.A. in applied economics from the Université de Louvain and an MBA from Rutgers University. Born and raised in Brussels, Belgium, Mr. de Visscher began his career at Coopers & Lybrand in Brussels and New York. In 1981 he joined Smith Barney, Harris Upham & Co. where he founded and headed the firm's Family Business Group, the first group on Wall Street to specialize in providing financial solutions to family businesses.
De Visscher and Co. is a leading financial and investment banking firm focusing on the needs of family and closely held companies. The firm handles over 200 actively run family-owned businesses with at least $50 million in sales. Mr. de Visscher is also on the board of directors of his own family's steel business in Brussels and a director of the company's U.S. subsidiary. He serves as a director of the Global Leadership Institute, and is on the board of the Center for the Advancement of Global Family Enterprises and the Belgian-American Chamber of Commerce.
An enthusiastic and dedicated entrepreneur, Mr. de Visscher's presentation to the Lubin students and faculty with whom he met was focused on family and entrepreneurial businesses and how they can meet the challenges of the global economy.
Mr. de Visscher started off by pointing to the many reasons why de Visscher & Co. is different from other financial services companies on Wall Street. He said the company provides the highest quality independent and unbiased financial advice for businesses operating in the entrepreneurial environment, addressing specific issues of growth, raising capital, and liquidity. What de Visscher & Co. also offers its clients and what makes it absolutely unique, he said, is its sound advice on some psychological issues that are family firm specific but are as important for family firms as financial issues, for example: estate planning and succession, and diversity and cultural sensitivity. He said that these are now dominating issues for entrepreneurial companies worldwide, particularly in light of an emerging globalization era. "Being global is not a question of size, but a way of thinking," Mr. de Visscher stressed.
In discussing his own business experiences, Mr. de Visscher mentioned several joint ventures his family company has around the globe, including eighteen in Latin America and five in the Far East, and stressed once again the overall importance of the human element in developing successful international and global ventures. "Good business fit should go hand in hand with good family fit," he said, adding that to succeed in the global entrepreneurial environment of the future one should feel comfortable with one's partners and try to extend trust into all foreign joint venture projects. He seemed to make a strong impression on both the students and faculty with his commitment to entrepreneurship, something that many young people are looking into these days, and with his accessibility to each of the diverse groups he spoke with during his executive in residence day at Lubin.
The tenth anniversary year of the Executive in Residence Program is off to a great start, offering the Lubin community first-hand insights into areas of such topical importance as health care and entrepreneurship.
David B. Skinner, M.D.
Vice Chairman and CEO
The New York-Presbyterian Hospitals, Inc. and The New York-Presbyterian Healthcare System, Inc.
On Thursday, October 23, Dr. David B. Skinner, president and CEO of New York Hospital since 1987, and vice chairman and CEO of the merged New York and Presbyterian Hospitals, Inc. and the New York-Presbyterian Healthcare System, Inc. since 1996, visited the New York City campus.
Dr. Skinner is a leading authority in the field of esophageal disease and a nationally recognized surgeon and educator. After earning his undergraduate degree from the University of Rochester and his medical degree from Yale University School of Medicine, he started his medical career in 1959 at Massachusetts General Hospital, followed by a teaching fellowship in surgery at Harvard Medical School in 1965. Among his academic appointments prior to taking up the leadership of New York Hospital in 1987, Dr. Skinner served as chair of the Department of Surgery at the University of Chicago Hospitals and Clinics.
The alliance under his command consists of more than twenty hospitals and health care institutions with combined annual revenues exceeding $2.5 billion and represents one of the largest not-for-profit health care systems in the country.
Dr. Skinner's visit to the University's NYC campus started with a luncheon and an informal talk with faculty in the Robert Pace Study. After warm greetings from Lubin Dean Arthur L. Centonze and Pace President Patricia O' Donnell Ewers, Dr. Skinner gave a far-reaching and thorough overview of the American health care industry and answered numerous questions.
Dr. Skinner called the latest changes in the health care industry "revolutionary; fueled to a great extent by a big explosion in research and technology, which in turn are driving medical costs up." In the 1980s and particularly in the 1990s, he said, rising costs became the major impediment to fulfilling the health care needs of the country. The recurring theme that came up over and over again during Dr. Skinner's visit was the question of how to control costs, maintain top quality health care, and expand accessibility to a larger percentage of uninsured Americans.
Dr. Skinner said he believes that about 30 percent of the $1.1 trillion expenditure in health care in the U.S. is wasted. "If you can get this money out of the system and redirect it properly, there is enough money to pay for all those uninsured," he said. He mentioned that hospitals representing the provider side, such as New York-Presbyterian, responded to this challenge admirably and went for five years without increasing costs while maintaining high quality health care. Dr. Skinner reiterated that "What we need is a lean, efficient, focused health care system. That can be achieved by going to employers directly.... There should be a direct contact between corporations and hospitals."
As a response to the growing needs of the future health care system that Dr. Skinner was talking about, three schools of Pace University, the Lubin School of Business, Lienhard School of Nursing, and Dyson College of Arts and Sciences have created an innovative program that involves faculty from all three schools: the MBA in Health Care Management that started this Fall. Health care administrators with this MBA will be equipped to better understand and deal effectively and efficiently with the myriad of complex business problems that have become synonymous with the health care industry today.
Later in the afternoon, Dr. Skinner lectured to students in a combined class of undergraduate and graduate business students, where he discussed business strategy. He also attended a reception with students and faculty and in the evening lectured to over 100 MBA students. In his talk, he covered finance and marketing issues in the health care industry and highlighted the problems and opportunities of the merger of New York and Presbyterian hospitals.