Business International Corporation

Business International Corporation

Discussion
Ask a question about 'Business International Corporation'
Start a new discussion about 'Business International Corporation'
Answer questions from other users
Full Discussion Forum
 
Encyclopedia
Business International Corporation (BI) was a publishing and advisory firm dedicated to assisting American companies in operating abroad. In 1986, Business International was acquired by The Economist Group
The Economist Group
The Economist Group is a leading source of analysis on international business and world affairs, delivering information through a range of formats, from newspaper and magazines to conferences and electronic services...

 in London, and eventually merged with The Economist Intelligence Unit. BI has been known to be used as a CIA front company
Front organization
A front organization is any entity set up by and controlled by another organization, such as intelligence agencies, organized crime groups, banned organizations, religious or political groups, advocacy groups, or corporations...

.

History


Founded in 1953 by Eldridge Haynes
Eldridge Haynes
Eldridge Haynes is best remembered as the founder of Business International Corporation, headquarters in New York City, along with his son, Elliott Haynes as co-founder,and as a spokesman for free trade and advocate for the international business community...

 and his son, Elliott Haynes, BIC initially focused on American companies and started out with a weekly newsletter (called Business International) and a group of key corporate clients. Offices were established overseas, including major regional operations based out of Vienna (East Europe and the USSR) and Hong Kong (Asia-Pacific), and single-country offices (e.g., Rome, Tokyo).

BI eventually became the premier information source on global business with research, advisory functions, conferences and government roundtables in addition to its publications. It was headquartered in New York City
New York City
New York is the most populous city in the United States and the center of the New York Metropolitan Area, one of the most populous metropolitan areas in the world. New York exerts a significant impact upon global commerce, finance, media, art, fashion, research, technology, education, and...

, with major offices in Geneva
Geneva
Geneva In the national languages of Switzerland the city is known as Genf , Ginevra and Genevra is the second-most-populous city in Switzerland and is the most populous city of Romandie, the French-speaking part of Switzerland...

, London
London
London is the capital city of :England and the :United Kingdom, the largest metropolitan area in the United Kingdom, and the largest urban zone in the European Union by most measures. Located on the River Thames, London has been a major settlement for two millennia, its history going back to its...

, Vienna
Vienna
Vienna is the capital and largest city of the Republic of Austria and one of the nine states of Austria. Vienna is Austria's primary city, with a population of about 1.723 million , and is by far the largest city in Austria, as well as its cultural, economic, and political centre...

, Hong Kong
Hong Kong
Hong Kong is one of two Special Administrative Regions of the People's Republic of China , the other being Macau. A city-state situated on China's south coast and enclosed by the Pearl River Delta and South China Sea, it is renowned for its expansive skyline and deep natural harbour...

 and Tokyo
Tokyo
, ; officially , is one of the 47 prefectures of Japan. Tokyo is the capital of Japan, the center of the Greater Tokyo Area, and the largest metropolitan area of Japan. It is the seat of the Japanese government and the Imperial Palace, and the home of the Japanese Imperial Family...

, and a network of correspondents across the globe.

In his book The Strawberry Statement
The Strawberry Statement
The Strawberry Statement is a non-fiction book by James Simon Kunen, written when he was 19, which chronicled his experiences at Columbia University from 1966–1968, particularly the April 1968 protests and takeover of the office of the dean of Columbia by student protesters.-Explanation of...

, former student protester James Kunen
James Simon Kunen
James Simon Kunen is an American author, journalist and lawyer. He is best known as the author of The Strawberry Statement, a first-person documentary of the Columbia University protests of 1968.-Biography:...

 reports a description of Business International by an unnamed Students for a Democratic Society
Students for a Democratic Society (1960 organization)
Students for a Democratic Society was a student activist movement in the United States that was one of the main iconic representations of the country's New Left. The organization developed and expanded rapidly in the mid-1960s before dissolving at its last convention in 1969...

 conference attendee in 1968. The attendee, referred to by Kunen as 'the kid', claimed the company offered to finance SDS demonstrations in Chicago. Business International is described as 'the left wing of the ruling class' and as desiring a Gene McCarthy
Eugene McCarthy
Eugene Joseph "Gene" McCarthy was an American politician, poet, and a long-time member of the United States Congress from Minnesota. He served in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1949 to 1959 and the U.S. Senate from 1959 to 1971.In the 1968 presidential election, McCarthy was the first...

 presidency.

Publishing


Publications included a family of newsletters (Business International, Business Europe, Business Eastern Europe, Business Latin America, Business Asia, Business China, and Business International Money Report), put out on a weekly, bi-weekly or monthly basis. Among the regularly updated reference products covering 40-50 countries were Financing Foreign Operations (FFO), Investment, Licensing and Trading Conditions Abroad (ILT) and China Hand). An international business, politics and economic forecasting service (Business International Forecasting Service, BIFS) evolved from an annual five-year outlook to quarterly and in some cases even more frequent reports. More specialized work covered economic and political risk assessment, and executive cost of living in various cities around the world.

In addition, Business International published book-length reports on a variety of topics, including such titles as 30 Business Checklists, India: Limited Avenues to an Unlimited Market, and Structuring & Locating your Asian Headquarters.

Research and consulting


BI also conducted specialized research assignments for its clients, some of which involved hands-on consulting, brainstorming and briefings during strategic planning sessions. Although country analysts might be pulled into region-wide or country specific work, the company also had a dedicated team in the Research and Consulting (later, Consulting and Research) division.

Conferences


BI was perhaps best known outside the United States for its Roundtable Conferences. Begun in the 1950 with topics usually focused on single countries and their governments (e.g., Roundtable with the Government of Mexico), the series evolved in the 1970s to include region-wide, multi-day conferences such as the Heads of Asia Pacific Operations (HAPO) and Heads of Latin American Operations (HELAO) roundtables. Attendees were generally regional C-level executives and sometimes visitors from headquarters' International Division, however, some Roundtables included Heads of State or Heads of Government, and those were structured around a dialogue, rather than monologue format.

A second conference product focused on specific industries, including telecoms and automotive, or on functional operations such as finance or human resources.

More frequent gatherings of clients based in a single city were marketed under the "Country Managers," "Regional General Managers" or "Peer Group Forum" brands. Several competing companies focusing on these services were established by former employees, particularly in Asia.

Clientele


The company's client base included most major American companies, as well as European, Japanese and Indian companies and corporate groups.

Barack Obama


In the late summer of 1983, future United States President
President of the United States
The President of the United States of America is the head of state and head of government of the United States. The president leads the executive branch of the federal government and is the commander-in-chief of the United States Armed Forces....

 Barack Obama
Barack Obama
Barack Hussein Obama II is the 44th and current President of the United States. He is the first African American to hold the office. Obama previously served as a United States Senator from Illinois, from January 2005 until he resigned following his victory in the 2008 presidential election.Born in...

 interviewed for a job at Business International Corporation. He worked there for "little more than year." As a research associate in its financial services division, he edited Financing Foreign Operations, a global reference service, and wrote for Business International Money Report, a weekly financial newsletter. His responsibilities included "interviewing business experts, researching trends in foreign exchange, following market developments. . . . He wrote about currency swaps and leverage leases. . . . Obama also helped write financial reports on Mexico
Mexico
The United Mexican States , commonly known as Mexico , is a federal constitutional republic in North America. It is bordered on the north by the United States; on the south and west by the Pacific Ocean; on the southeast by Guatemala, Belize, and the Caribbean Sea; and on the east by the Gulf of...

 and Brazil
Brazil
Brazil , officially the Federative Republic of Brazil , is the largest country in South America. It is the world's fifth largest country, both by geographical area and by population with over 192 million people...

.

CIA


The company has been identified as cover organization for the Central Intelligence Agency
Central Intelligence Agency
The Central Intelligence Agency is a civilian intelligence agency of the United States government. It is an executive agency and reports directly to the Director of National Intelligence, responsible for providing national security intelligence assessment to senior United States policymakers...

, e.g. see Lobster Magazine, issue 14 in 1987. According to a lengthy article in the New York Times in 1977, the co-founder of the company told the newspaper that "Eldridge Haynes [the other founder] had provided cover for four CIA employees in various countries between 1955 and 1960".