Schwartz is chairman and chief executive officer of BLS Investments, the private investment firm, and manages the investments of the Bernard and Irene Schwartz Foundation, an organization that primarily supports higher education, medical research, and New York City-based cultural institutions. He also helps develop policy and strategy through investments in think tanks, universities, and advocacy groups, including the New America Foundation and The New School.
Raised in the Bensonhurst neighborhood of Brooklyn, and a graduate of City College of New York, Schwartz served for 34 years as chairman and CEO of Loral Space & Communications and its predecessor company, Loral Corporation. Under his leadership from 1972 to 1996, Loral, a designer and manufacturer of state-of-the-art hardware for the defense and aerospace industries, posted 96 consecutive quarters of increased earnings. During that period, the company's market value rose from $7.5 million to $15 billion. In 1996, Schwartz directed the divestment of Loral's defense businesses and formed Loral Space & Communications, one of the world's largest satellite manufacturing and satellite services companies.
Schwartz, a life-long supporter of the Democratic Party, has recently focused his attention on policy initiatives that will put a dent in the lingering 9% unemployment rate and hasten the US economic recovery.
"The US faces not one but two economic crises," he wrote in the Financial Times in a recent opinion piece.* "One is that the current slump could easily take a turn for the worse. The second is even more unsettling: a long-term competitiveness crisis that, if unaddressed, raises questions about the country's ability to create jobs, attract investment and maintain its international leadership. For both these reasons, it is critical that America's political classes set aside partisanship and focus on taking concrete action now - even if it comes when such political courage (which is to say responsible leadership) is most difficult."
Earlier this year, Schwartz called for a $1 trillion investment program to revive the U.S. economy by improving the country's essential infrastructure, which includes everything from repairs on existing roads and bridges and broadband, to upgrades on air traffic control systems, to the creation of a new energy grid. The investment in public infrastructure would help put Americans back to work, he said during an interview on The Charlie Rose Show in August.
"As a businessman, I made investments in capital, in people, in R&D that caused some deficit at the beginning and paid off at the end," he said in the interview. "I'm suggesting that we employ a very workable, simple system for the American society."
His talk is sponsored by Brandeis IBS's Perlmutter Institute for Global Business Leadership, which was established in 2008 to prepare students for leadership positions in the global corporation of the future. Brandeis Trustee Louis Perlmutter '56, co-founder of the institute, will moderate the talk. New Brandeis President Frederick M. Lawrence will give introductory remarks.
Wednesday, January 12, 2011 6:30 pm-9:00 pm
The Michelangelo hotel 152 west 51st Street, New York, NY
RSVP: email@example.com or 781-736-8634 by January 5
*The Right Plan To Tackle America's Twin Crises By Bernard Schwartz and David Rothkopf, The Financial Times, September 8, 2010