NEW YORK--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Pace University will pay tribute to Magazine Publishing Magnate David J. Pecker (BBA ’72) and Online Advertising Innovator Gurbaksh Chahal at its 47th Annual Leaders in Management Award Dinner to be held at Cipriani Wall Street on Thursday, April 29.
Maria Bartiromo anchor of CNBC’s "Closing Bell with Maria Bartiromo" and Host/Managing Editor of the nationally syndicated "Wall Street Journal Report with Maria Bartiromo," which was also recently rated the most watched financial news program in America, will act as master of ceremonies.
Donald J. Trump, world renowned for his business success, philanthropic generosity and hit television show, Celebrity Apprentice, will present the award to Pecker, a long-time friend and business associate. Pecker, 58, is the Chairman, President and CEO of American Media, Inc. (AMI), the leading publishing company in celebrity journalism and health & fitness with a magazine stable that includes Star, National Enquirer, Shape and Men’s Fitness.
Bruce Bachenheimer, Clinical Professor of Management, Director of Entrepreneurship and Wilson Center for Social Entrepreneurship Faculty Fellow, will present the award to Chahal, whose first interaction with Pace was as keynote speaker for the Fifth Annual Pace Pitch Contest in 2008. Chahal, 27, created two Internet advertising firms worth $340 million by the age of 25 and currently serves as founder and CEO of gWallet, Inc., a new advertising platform for social media.
“Pace’s motto is ‘Opportunitas’ and both David and Gurbaksh, who are self-made business moguls in their industries, are ideal role models to fuel our students’ passion for seizing the brass ring of opportunity,” said Pace University President Stephen J. Friedman.
Credits Pace with His Success
Over his distinguished 25-year career in publishing, Pecker has completed more than $3.6 billion in magazine transactions. He assumed the AMI leadership in May 1999.
Following 9/11 in October 2001, AMI became the first U.S. company to be targeted by bio-terrorists using anthrax, and one of its employees became the first casualty of this new kind of war. Despite being evacuated from its corporate headquarters, Pecker moved quickly to relocate the company's operations and all AMI titles were published on schedule.
In November 2002, Pecker and Evercore acquired Weider Publications Inc., the leading publisher of health & fitness magazines, including category leader Shape and Men's Fitness. In April 2004, Pecker re-launched Star as a 100-page glossy, the first time a tabloid was ever successfully converted to magazine format.
Under Pecker’s leadership, Shape became the #1 title in the Women's Active Lifestyle Category, Men's Fitness was successfully re-launched, and digital platforms were developed for all the company's brands. Over the past year, AMI has re-launched Radaronline.com, the go-to website for all celebrity news, launched the UFC Magazine in partnership with the ultimate Fighting Championships, and assumed all responsibility for the production, circulation, advertising sales and marketing of Playboy magazine.
Before acquiring AMI, Pecker was President and Chief Executive Officer of Hachette Filipacchi Magazines, overseeing such titles as Woman’s Day, Elle, Home, George, Popular Photography and Car and Driver. He was appointed Chief Executive Officer in 1992 and was named President of Hachette Magazines, Inc. in September, 1991. Previously, Pecker had served as Executive Vice President, Chief Operating Officer and Chief Financial Officer for Hachette Magazines, Inc., formerly Diamandis Communications Inc.
Pecker is one of the newest members of Pace’s Board of Trustees, joining in March 2009. As an “Executive in Residence” for the Lubin School of Business during the Spring 2009 semester, he lectured on timely business issues, providing unique insights to students from a real business perspective. Among his words of wisdom:
Pecker, who admits “I wouldn’t be where I am today if it wasn’t for Pace,” holds a Bachelor of Business Administration degree from Pace’s Lubin School of Business. In May 1998, the university awarded him an Honorary Doctorate of Commercial Science.
Additionally, he has also been a “true friend” of Dyson’s publishing program for over 20 years, most recently establishing a sizable scholarship fund. In October 2009, he endowed the David J. Pecker Visiting Professor for Pace University’s Master in Science in Publishing Program. Michael Healy, the first Executive Director of the Book Rights Registry set up as a result of the Google Books Settlement, was named the first participant. At the time of Healy’s appointment, Pecker said, “I couldn't imagine a better choice … his work in protecting the rights of authors and publishers, as well as his insight into the future of digital as it relates to the printed page, make him ideally suited for this visiting professorship." As the David J. Pecker Visiting Professor, Healy will give two annual lectures, mentor students and participate in some corporate training sessions.
Living and Sharing the American Dream
In January 1999, at age 16, Chahal’s love of the Internet inspired him to start his first company, ClickAgents, out of his bedroom. It was one of the first performance-based advertising networks in the industry. Eighteen months later, at the age of 18, he sold ClickAgents to ValueClick in a $40 million all-stock merger and a three-year, non-compete agreement.
His second firm, BlueLithium, launched in January 2004, was the next generation in Internet advertising. Focused on data, optimization, and analytics, it pioneered behavioral targeting. Under Chahal’s leadership, BlueLithium was named Top Innovator of the Year by the business innovation magazine, AlwaysOn (previous winners included Google, Skype, and Salesforce.com). On September 4, 2007, Yahoo! acquired BlueLithium for $300 million in cash.
At age 27, Chahal embarked on his third and current venture, gWallet, a new online advertising platform for social media.
When Chahal appeared as a guest on The Oprah Winfrey Show, Winfrey introduced him as “one of the youngest and also the wealthiest entrepreneurs on the planet Earth.” Happy to share the rewards of his success with others, he has co-starred in Fox’s prime-time TV reality series, “The Secret Millionaire,” in which wealthy participants live undercover among the poor and then bestow $100,000 of their own money on deserving recipients. He is in the throes of building a namesake non-profit, The Chahal Foundation.
At Pace, he has gone into the classroom for the day as an “Entrepreneur in Residence,” interacting with students and faculty at the Lubin School of Business to encourage entrepreneurial spirit and motivate future business leaders. His first visit to Pace was as Keynote Speaker for the 2008 Pace Pitch Contest, telling entrepreneurs-in-the-making that “if you dream it, you can do it.”
Chahal’s memoir, The Dream: How I Learned the Risks and Rewards of Entrepreneurship and Made Millions, was released globally in October 2008 by Palgrave Macmillan. In it, he writes:
“Most people think they need to know exactly what they want to do when they start a business, but they're wrong. If you go into something with a very specific plan, you might be so focused on your goal that you won't see the promising opportunities that present themselves as you make your way along. Take the blinders off. Look around. Don't be afraid to go off on all sorts of unusual directions, since that's where you might just find the most unusual-and promising-opportunities."
Leaders in Management Award
Past recipients of Pace’s Leaders In Management Award, an annual tradition since 1962, include Thomas J. Quinlan III, President and Chief Executive Officer of RR Donnelley; James Lipton, Dean Emeritus of the Actors Studio Drama School at Pace University; Michael O’Reilly, retired Vice Chairman and Chief Financial Officer of The Chubb Corporation; Herbert Henkel, Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer of the Ingersoll-Rand Company; Ivan G. Seidenberg, Chairman and CEO, Verizon Communications; Barry M. Gosin, Chief Executive Officer of Newmark Knight Frank; David Rockefeller, retired chairman of Chase Manhattan Bank; Edward D. Miller, then President and Chief Executive Officer, AXA Financial Inc; Thomas C. Hays, chairman and CEO of Fortune Brands, Inc; and Eugene R. McGrath, former Chairman of the Board of Consolidated Edison, Inc.
Pace is in the final months of “It’s Time: The Centennial Campaign” which, under the stewardship of Ivan G. Seidenberg (MBA ’81), Chairman and CEO of Verizon Communications Inc., has raised $98.8 million toward a goal of $100 million to help Pace reshape itself for its second century. For further information on the Leaders in Management 47th Annual Award Dinner on April 29, ticket options and/or sponsorship opportunities, go to www.pace.edu/lim2010.
About Pace: For 103 years Pace University has produced thinking professionals by providing high quality education for the professions on a firm base of liberal learning amid the advantages of the New York metropolitan area. A private university, Pace has campuses in New York City and Westchester County, New York, enrolling nearly 13,000 students in bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral programs in its Lubin School of Business, Dyson College of Arts and Sciences, Lienhard School of Nursing, School of Education, School of Law, and Seidenberg School of Computer Science and Information Systems. www.pace.edu
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