Gillian Tett

Managing Editor (US) and Columnist, Financial Times
Awarding-winning journalist

Must-read financial journalist who combines her knowledge of markets with original insight on the behaviors that drive them.

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Biography

Gillian Tett explains how capital markets and politics created the European financial crisis. An award-winning journalist and preeminent authority on capital markets, she is widely credited with being the first to cover the credit crunch in the mainstream press and has won many prestigious journalism awards for her coverage of capital markets.

Beginning in 2004 — three years before anyone else — she began building a team at the Financial Times to cover capital markets, correctly anticipating the need to watch an industry growing uncommonly fast. By 2007, a year ahead of the curve, she began issuing her newsbreaking warnings of a looming financial crisis.

Gillian's current book is The Silo Effect: The Peril of Expertise and The Promise of Breaking Down Barriers. She is the author of the New York Times bestseller Fool's Gold, the gripping tale of how a team of Wall Street bankers led by J.P. Morgan's CEO Jamie Dimon created the world of 'shadow banking,' and then lost control of their creation. Fool's Gold is a vital contribution to our understanding of the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression. She also wrote Saving the Sun, about Japan's financial collapse in the 1990s. She was Japan bureau chief for the FT during the 'lost decade'.

In recognition of her work, Gillian has won several awards, including the UK Speechwriters’ Guild Business Communicator of the Year 2012, the Journalist of the Year at the British Press Awards 2009, British Business Journalist of the Year in 2008, and the Wincott prize in 2007. Gillian also received The British Academy President’s Medal 2011, which rewards service to the cause of the humanities and social sciences, specifically for her insightful journalism contributing to public understanding. Most recently, she was recognized as Columnist of the Year at the 2014 Press Awards.

Gillian Tett is Managing Editor (US) and columnist at the Financial Times. In her previous role at FT, she oversaw global coverage of the financial markets. Her twice-weekly column earned her recognition as Columnist of the Year at the 2014 Press Awards.

Gillian Tett has a PhD in social anthropology from Cambridge University, based on research conducted in the former Soviet Union in the early 1990s. She speaks French and Russian and has studied Japanese and Tajik.

Credentials

  • Managing Editor, United States, and Columnist, Financial Times
  • Author, The Silo Effect, Fool's Gold and Saving the Sun
  • Winner, 2014 Marsh Award, awarded by the Royal Anthropological Society in recognition of outstanding use of anthropology or anthropological ideas to contribute to a better understanding of the world’s problems
  • Columnist of the Year, 2014 Press Awards
  • Awarded the UK Speechwriters’ Guild Business Communicator of the Year 2012
  • 2011 President's Medal by The British Academy, UK's national academy for the humanities and social sciences
  • Winner, Journalist of the Year 2009, British Press Awards
  • Winner, British Business Journalist of the Year 2008, British Press Awards
  • Winner, Wincott Prize, 2007

Books

The Silo Effect

The Peril of Expertise and The Promise of Breaking Down Barriers

Gillian Tett

In Silo, award-winning journalist Gillian Tett examines the structural development of institutions such as UBS, Sony and the Bank of England. While the world is increasingly interlinked in some senses, it remains profoundly fragmented in others. As organizations become larger and more global than ever before, they are apt to be divided and sub-divided into numerous different departments to facilitate productivity. However, there is a trap to the inevitability of these silos. The tunnel vision and tribalism that silos can lead to makes groups less innovative and can lead to disastrous mistakes.

Institutions worldwide are made up of silos operating in isolation from one another. Silo is an eye-opening account that takes a radical anthropological approach in suggesting how we might draw them back together.

Simon & Schuster (September 1, 2015)

Excerpt

'The Silo Effect'

Videos

Book Launch in the UKMoneyWeek
Busting Silos — CNN
InterviewMoneyWeek
Perils of 'The Silo Effect' — CNBC

Reviews

Breaking Bad Barriersstrategy+business
What our top innovators know about human creativityNew York Post
The Silo Effect can create tunnel vision and prevent us from seeing risksThe Globe and Mail
Beware of the Octopus PotsThe Wall Street Journal
Corporate for RealHarvard Business Review
ReviewPublishers Weekly

Fool's Gold

How the Bold Dream of a Small Tribe at J.P. Morgan Was Corrupted by Wall Street Greed and Unleashed a Catastrophe

Gillian Tett

From award-winning Financial Times journalist Gillian Tett, who enraged Wall Street leaders with her newsbreaking warnings of a crisis more than a year ahead of the curve, Fool's Gold tells the astonishing unknown story at the heart of the 2008 meltdown.

Drawing on exclusive access to J.P. Morgan CEO Jamie Dimon and a tightly bonded team of bankers known on Wall Street as the "Morgan Mafia," as well as in-depth interviews with dozens of other key players, including Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, Tett brings to life in gripping detail how the Morgan team's bold ideas for a whole new kind of financial alchemy helped to ignite a revolution in banking, and how that revolution escalated wildly out of control.

The deeply reported and lively narrative takes readers behind the scenes, to the inner sanctums of elite finance and to the secretive reaches of what came to be known as the "shadow banking" world. The story begins with the intense Morgan brainstorming session in 1994 beside a pool in Boca Raton, where the team cooked up a dazzling new idea for the exotic financial product known as credit derivatives. That idea would rip around the banking world, catapult Morgan to the top of the turbocharged derivatives trade, and fuel an extraordinary banking boom that seemed to have unleashed banks from ages-old constraints of risk.

But when the Morgan team's derivatives dream collided with the housing boom, and was perverted — through hubris, delusion, and sheer greed — by titans of banking that included Citigroup, UBS, and the thundering herd at Merrill Lynch — even as J.P. Morgan itself stayed well away from the risky concoctions others were peddling — catastrophe followed. Tett's access to Dimon and the J.P. Morgan leaders who so skillfully steered their bank away from the wild excesses of others sheds invaluable light not only on the untold story of how they engineered their bank's escape from carnage but also on how possible it was for the larger banking world, regulators, and rating agencies to have spotted, and heeded, the terrible risks of a meltdown.

A tale of blistering brilliance and willfully blind ambition, Fool's Gold is both a rare journey deep inside the arcane and wildly competitive world of high finance and a vital contribution to understanding how the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression was perpetrated.

Free Press; Reprint edition (13 Apr 2010)
Free Press (12 May 2009)

Reviews

Fool's Gold on Wall StreetThe Daily Beast
Greed Layered on Greed, Frosted With RecklessnessThe New York Times
Rewriting the RulesThe New York Times Sunday Book Review
OutsmartedThe New Yorker
Fool's GoldThe Independent
Fool's GoldFinancial Times

Saving the Sun

Gillian Tett

Saving the Sun tells the story of the world's largest private equity deal where American investors made billions of dollars rehabilitating Shinsei, a failed Japanese bank. Within that business saga is the dramatic tale of Japan's brightest financial minds, the men who made the Japanese economic miracle come to life, and their struggle against the economic failure in the 1990s. Into this climate of despair, where Japan seemed incapable of reviving prosperity, came a group of wily and determined Americans who would discover just how different the Japanese really are. 

Collins Business (September 7, 2004)


Topics

Gillian tailors each presentation to the needs of her audience and is not limited to the topics we have listed below. These are subjects that have proven valuable to customers in the past and are meant only to suggest her range and interests. Please ask us about any subject that interests you; we are sure that we can accommodate you.

Fool's Gold

The global financial crisis

Videos

Brexit: The European Union Itself is Under Threat

The Silo Effect | MoneyWeek

What Not to Do: USB Bank's Big Failure

How Facebook Crushed the Silo

How Businesses Can Succeed by Breaking Down Silos

How the Cleveland Clinic Revolutionized Modern Medicine

Dazed and Confused: Making Sense of an Uncertain Economy

Feedback

A business school:
Dear Gillian — Thank you once more for your excellent contribution in the [ . . . ] Leadership Forum last week. The spontaneous comments re your presentation were very positive.

A law firm:
Your contribution to the overall success of the event was the difference between a very good event and an excellent one. One client, head of our national treasury management, said to me on leaving that in all of the years attending our event – 8 years – you were easily the best and most captivating speaker. It was apparent you put a lot of thought and preparation into what you were going to say and it was very well received. Your insights were unique and your presentation was compelling and it was clear to all of us how much passion you had for the chosen subject. And so a sincere thank you for being our 2016 guest speaker. It was my first event as managing partner and, while I had a lot to live up to, your presence and presentation made this an event to remember for the all the right reasons.

An American multinational energy company:
Gillian was A M A Z I N G!!!

An annual meeting for the chemical business community:
Dear Gillian — I herewith wish to express our gratitude for having contributed to making the “diversity matters” session of last Sunday a real success.

You were fantastic and the audience was very enthusiastic about your extra-ordinary performance. Rarely have I heard so many good comments after a speech, your message was a real eye-opener for the large majority of the attendants.

Knowing what you had been through during the hours before your speech with the unfortunate and disruptive weather conditions, it was unbelievable how strong you were as our key-note speaker. You indeed made the business case of diversity inclusion in a way nobody else could do better. This is the performance of a real “professional” and I am happy and proud you could accept our invitation to share with our delegates your conviction that awareness of and fighting silos is a “must” for business success and that diversity inclusion implementation is a welcome support to achieve this goal.

Dear Gillian — It was a real pleasure to meet and work with you in Berlin at [ … ] – your contribution to the Diversity session was brilliant and spot on – many thanks.

A national insurance agency:
Gillian was informative, delightful and captivating. Our agents loved her! Her knowledge and expertise on multiple topics during Q&A is impressive. We thoroughly enjoyed having her.

A leading trade organization for the futures, options and OTC cleared swaps markets:
Dear Gillian, Thank you for coming to our conference in Boca and making it an absolute success. I cannot tell you how many attendees came up to me to applaud your good work. You provided a thoughtful assessment of the state of the industry and gave us some trends to be motivating, including cyber-security. I hope we can tempt you back in the future.

An investment advice group for nonprofit institutions:
Gillian and Adam [Posen] were phenomenal!

A federal mortgage company:
Tett really wowed them, she talked about the present and the future of the markets. It's clear that she's interviewed leaders in the financial world from Madoff, Geithner, Volcker and heads of state. She talked about the recent downgrading of the U.S. economy by Standard and Poors and it's impact on the debt ceiling, the value of the dollar and treasury bills.

The President of the [...] loved her and she delivered a talk that was tailored specifically for this group. She was a homerun.

A worldwide insurance underwriters group:
Gillian gave a really interesting talk and you couldn’t hear a pin drop whilst she was speaking. The content was really informative (links were made with our business) and there were lots of good questions from the audience. I thought she was really engaging and added humour to her anecdotes.

Articles

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— Stamford Advocate
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— CGMA Magazine
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