Bloomberg chairman Peter Grauer spends 55% of his work time with colleagues

Peter Grauer, chairman of Bloomberg LP. -- BT FILE PHOTO: YEN MENG JIIN
Peter Grauer, chairman of Bloomberg LP. -- BT FILE PHOTO: YEN MENG JIIN

Time matters a great deal at leading financial news company Bloomberg, which has a speed desk to help it be the fastest to break the news.

Time is a big deal too for its chairman Peter Grauer, who believes in tracking every working hour so as to spend time on the things that matter.

He shared at a talk at the Singapore Management University on Monday that he spends 15 per cent of his working time thinking about the firm's financial issues, 12 per cent with clients and up to 7 per cent on company strategy. Another 10 per cent or so on other work engagements such as those linked to the boards of companies he sits on.

But he spends most of his time - or 55 per cent to be exact - of his time with his Bloomberg colleagues.

This includes time spent at Bloomberg's open office in New York, where he hears the cacophony of the newsroom, instead of being insulated by walls.

He can also see employees going in and out from where he sits. "But it's not to monitor who goes in and out when, but the responsibility of innovation and disruption in our business belongs to every one of our employees," said Mr Grauer.

"If they have an idea to improve the company, I want them to feel that they have every right and opportunity to approach me," he said.

Mr Grauer, an ex-investment banker who joined Bloomberg as Chairman of the Board in 2001, takes time spent with his colleagues seriously.

When the Japan tsunami struck in 2011, he jumped on a plane to Tokyo even though he had just gotten off one from the Middle East. "There was not a single soul in Narita (Airport) when I arrived," said Mr Grauer, who became Bloomberg's CEO in 2002 and was later succeeded by current CEO Daniel Doctoroff in 2011.

But colleagues in the Bloomberg Tokyo office were at work. "I shook hands with everyone of them and told them how important they were to us," he said. "And I told them that we would never leave Tokyo," he added, calling leadership "the ability to inspire people to do things that they ordinarily wouldn't".

In his talk, Mr Grauer also emphasised the importance of humility and non-complacency which he called "constructive paranoia".

He also took about four questions mainly on leadership from the audience made up mostly of SMU students.

Mr Grauer also mentioned the controversy Bloomberg was embroiled in last year, when clients of its financial terminals found their confidential information leaked to the agency's very own journalists.

"We told ourselves that we were the leading provider of financial data, and we are, but we began to believe in our own press," Mr Grauer said. "The incident was a bucket of cold water waking us up."

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