Business Wire CEO Cathy Baron Tamraz Talks Women CEOs, Warren Buffett and 50 Years of Trust on Fox Business

May 11, 2011


Check out this great interview with Business Wire chairman and CEO Cathy Baron Tamraz on Fox Business. Fox Business anchor Liz Claman sat down with Cathy as part of their “Women at the Wheel” series on female CEOs. Cathy discussed her background, working as a cab driver in college before joining Business Wire as an editor in San Francisco in 1979. She also retold the famous story of how she sold the company to Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway in 2006 after reading an article about him and writing him a letter.

Cathy also talked about how Business Wire has built its business on speed, accuracy and technology for the last 50 years, and how the key to the success of the company is the trust we’ve built with our clients. Watch the full interview at the Fox Business website.


April in Omaha: My Invitation to 2011 Berkshire Hathaway Annual Meeting

May 6, 2011
by Deb Subia, Editorial Process Development Manager, Business Wire

Deb Subia


A dozen lucky Business Wire employees from several U.S. bureaus and London joined CEO Cathy Baron Tamraz in Omaha for the 2011 Berkshire Hathaway Annual Meeting.  I was thrilled to be one of them.

Never having been, I was anxious to attend the meeting – okay, experience the EVENT – I had heard and read so much about over the years. I had heard so much of the “Berkshire Buzz” and the celebratory nature of the event!

Business Wire has long been known as a company with a family atmosphere.  I had the sense being around other Berkshire Hathaway companies that I was part of an even bigger family.

Selling show-themed passport booklets that included “smashed” pennies with images of Warren Buffett, Charlie Munger, the Annual Meeting date, and Business Wire’s 50thAnniversary crest to raise money for a local youth charity, CASA for Douglas County, Nebraska, was quite an experience.  It’s not every day you hear a co-worker say, “You want to get Warren’s head smashed on a penny?” Thanks to generous attendees, Business Wire sold out of passport booklets, raising more than $5,500 for CASA, all while having a lot of laughs and meeting some great people.

Cathy Baron Tamraz, Warren Buffett and Business Wire CTO Steve Messick operating the penny press

I was surprised at the diversity of the shareholders and delighted with the young investors-to-be who came by our booth.  One told me it was his first time attending and he was “so excited and overwhelmed and wanting to take everything in at the same time.”  I think he summarized the way many first-timers felt. Certainly learning early about ethics and patience in investing will leave a lasting impression.

The piece of advice I’ll most remember came from Charlie Munger and was about not making important decisions in anger: “You can always tell a man to go to hell tomorrow.”

I was impressed with Buffett’s smile, busy schedule and ability to handle questions hour after hour.  Coupled with the fact that he’s 80 years old, it is mind-boggling.  I’m  seriously considering adding a steady stream of Coke and See’s Candies to my diet.

The Business Wire 2011 Berkshire Hathaway Meeting booth crew

Overall, what I most took away surprised me. It was more universal than investment advice: passion for what you do, the desire to learn more all the time, the importance of becoming a better communicator, patience.  Buffett, at the core, is a teacher as well as an investor.

See more photos from the 2011 Berkshire Hathaway Shareholder’s Meeting at our Facebook page.


Get Your Berkshire Hathaway Shareholder Meeting Souvenir Pennies and Passports!

May 3, 2011

We’re just back from Omaha and the Berkshire Hathaway Shareholders Meeting. It was Business Wire’s  fifth meeting as a Berkshire Hathaway company and each year seems to get better and better.

It’s safe to say that the souvenir pennies we brought to the show, run through our exclusive penny press machine, were a runaway smash hit at this year’s meeting, where we sold more than 200 sets of four commemorative coins in souvenir passport holders. (This year’s meeting theme? Planes, trains and automobiles!) We raised money for a very important charity, CASA of Douglas County, Nebraska, an organization that provides a voice for abused and neglected children within the court system.

If you were unable to attend the event, or otherwise would like to buy a set, you’re in luck! Send us your $5 CASA donation in the mail and in return, you’ll get a set of all four smashed pennies in a souvenir passport holder. To order, email BHMeeting@businesswire.com and let us know how many sets you want and where we should send them to, and then put a check (made payable to: CASA) in the mail to:

ATTN: BH COINS
Business Wire
12121 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 1000
Los Angeles, CA 90025


Business Wire Gives Back: Parisian Staffer’s Portrait of Buffett to be Auctioned At Berkshire Meeting

April 29, 2011
Stephane Zovko, a client services representative in Business Wire’s Paris bureau, has long been an admirer of Warren Buffett, Chairman of  Berkshire Hathaway, the parent company of his employer.
When members of Business Wire’s Paris sales team had the opportunity to meet Buffett last year around the time that Zovko was to turn 39, he requested they secure an autograph from Buffett as a birthday gift.  They did.  Upon receiving the autograph, Zovko committed to painting Buffett’s portrait as a thank-you to his gracious boss.

Stephane Zovoko painting Warren Buffett's portraitStephane Zovko painting Warren Buffett’s portrait in his Parisian garden

It took five months to complete, but Zovko, who’s been painting since age 14,  delivered on his promise.

Now that portrait will be autographed by Mr . Buffett and sold to the highest bidder at this week’s Berkshire Hathaway Annual Shareholder’s meeting in Omaha, Nebraska.

Bids start at $2,000 and all proceeds will benefit Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) of Omaha.


Calling All College Students: Enter Our 50th Anniversary Video Contest & Win a Trip to Meet Warren Buffett in New York

April 12, 2011

Business Wire is going back to school! In our 50 years in the industry, we’ve seen first-hand how the communications world has changed & played a pretty big role in many of those changes along the way. Looking to the future as part of our 50th Anniversary, we want the next generation of communicators to share their vision of where public relations and communications is headed.

We’re kicking off our 50th Anniversary College Video Contest to send one lucky student to New York City to meet Warren Buffett, chairman & CEO of Business Wire’s parent company, Berkshire Hathaway, along with Business Wire chairman and CEO Cathy Baron Tamraz at Business Wire’s NYSE Opening Bell luncheon on September 30. Full-time U.S. and Canadian students attending two- or four-year colleges are invited to submit a video answering the question, “What is the future of public relations and communications?

We’ll select our top five videos and post them to our Facebook page, where fans are encouraged to “like” & comment on their favorites. Check out all the contest details at Facebook.com/BusinessWire. Good luck!

Check out this video for a quick rundown of what this contest is all about:


BW Fun Fact: Five Years Ago Today, Business Wire Joined the Berkshire Hathaway Family

March 1, 2011

Celebrating our five-year birthday as a Berkshire Hathaway company on the occasion of our fiftieth anniversary year makes us want to run out and buy a lottery ticket with lots of “fives” as our quick picks.

From the 2009 Berkshire Hathaway company calendar

Just 60 short months ago, on March 1, 2006, Business Wire joined Warren Buffett’s family.

Employees learned of the pending deal on January 16, 2006, when founder Lorry Lokey sent a company-wide email coauthored by BW CEO Cathy Baron Tamraz with the subject line:   A Renaissance:   A re-birth for Business Wire.

The classicly coy email, kept many of us on the edge of our seats as Lorry waited until the eighth paragraph to inform us: 

“Many of you might have heard rumors these last few years that Business Wire might be for sale. It’s true that in order to ensure our future and continue what we’ve built, we have considered options such as a sale, merger, acquisition, etc.
I am pleased to announce that Business Wire has been sold to Berkshire Hathaway and its leader, Warren Buffett.”

At 8:55 AM Eastern Standard Time on March 1, 2006, the news broke on Business Wire (of course) that Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway had bought Business Wire, making it a wholly owned subsidiary.


Business Wire Gives Back for 50th Anniversary

February 15, 2011

In the grand tradition of our founder, Lorry Lokey, & of course, Warren Buffett, chairman of our parent company Berkshire Hathaway, this year, Business Wire is giving back to celebrate our 50th anniversary.

We are setting a goal of 5,000 hours of community service for our 500+ employees in 2011. Each employee will given up to 12 hours of paid time off to volunteer at the nonprofit of their choice, with the goal that together, we can give back at least 5,000 hours to the communities in all 32 markets where we have local bureaus. In addition, Business Wire will continue to match charitable gifts to nonprofit organizations, as it has done for more than 10 years.

We are proud to be following in the footsteps of Warren Buffett, who is a founder of The Giving Pledge, along with Microsoft’s Bill Gates. Founded in 2010, The Giving Pledge encourages wealthy individuals worldwide to give the majority of their fortunes back to society. Our founder, Lorry Lokey, is also part of The Giving Pledge, and has already demonstrated a tradition of giving, particularly to education.

All of us here at Business Wire hope to uphold their example as we celebrate our 50 years of service to the communications industry this year. Be sure to check back here and at our Facebook page for updates throughout the year on our progress toward 5,000 hours given back!


Order the Berkshire Hathaway Souvenir Pennies

May 4, 2010

- by Phil Dennison, Senior Marketing Specialist

It’s safe to say that our souvenir pennies, run through our exclusive penny press machine, were a runaway smash hit at the Berkshire Hathaway Shareholder Meeting, where we sold more than 100 sets of four.  If you were not able to attend the event, or otherwise would like to get hold of a set, don’t despair! You can order them by mail.  Five dollars will get you a set of all four smashed pennies on a souvenir postcard.  To order, please mail a check in the amount of $5.00, made payable to CASA, and a self-addressed stamped envelope,  to:

Business Wire

4100 Newport Place, Suite 830

Newport Beach, CA 92660

ATTN: BH COINS


Wrapup: Berkshire Hathaway 2010, Success and Good Samaritans

May 2, 2010

- by Phil Dennison, Senior Marketing Specialist

Well, the displays are all packed up, the shareholders are returning home, and the Berkshire Hathaway Annual Shareholder Meeting 2010 has come to a close. Business Wire had a wonderful experience this year, representing ourselves to nearly 40,000 visitors with our on-site presence among the Berkshire family of companies.

Our booth was staffed by Business Wire folks from across the country, including representatives from Cleveland, New York, Denver, San Francisco, and even all the way from Paris. We spoke to hundreds and hundreds of BH shareholders and their families about Business Wire and its services.  It was great to see so many families on the exhibit hall floor, shopping at the exhibits of different Berkshire-owned companies.  Even though we didn’t have ice cream or books or cowboy boots or jewelry or other items to sell, we still had terrific conversations about what it is we do, how good we are at it and how business has been for us.

Our penny press machine was an enormous success among visitors.  Everyone from little kids to retirees wanted to take a turn creating their own elongated pennies with one of our special designs. Unfortunately, after a few hours of operation we ran into a mechanical snag. That’s when we were helped out by an amazing gentleman named Patrick Milliken.  Patrick, a Berkshire Hathaway shareholder and the YN (Young Numismatists) Director of the Omaha Coin Club, was passing by our booth and, being a collector, decided to purchase several sets of our pennies. Our mechanical problems began while he was there, and it turns out that Patrick is also mechanically inclined. To the surprise and gratitude of our entire crew, Patrick came up with a fix — in fact, several fixes — that kept our penny press working long after it should have stopped. We at Business Wire owe Patrick an enormous thanks for helping us out and making sure lots of event attendees got their pennies, too!

I also got to spend some time, along with our other booth staff rotating in and out, in the Qwest Center arena watching the Q&A as Chairman, Warren Buffett and Vice-Chairman, Charlie Munger, took questions from shareholders, some via a 3-person media panel who selected pre-submitted questions, and some from shareholders who were selected in advance by lot to ask questions at the show. During the period I was there, I watched as Mr. Buffett and Mr. Munger took and answered questions on global inflation, on US tax policy, on the American education system and even on BH-specific topics like the performance of individual subsidiaries. Both answered every question with good humor, intelligence, quickness and depth. Among the portion I got to see, highlights included Mr. Munger’s explanation of how McDonald’s supplies a better business education than most US business schools, and Mr. Buffett’s discussion of why he is giving his entire estate away rather than let it be taxed.

The biggest impressions I took away from the show were, first, what an amazingly diverse, fun and interesting bunch of people Berkshire Hathaway shareholders are. There were so many hundreds of people who came by our booth to talk, many of whom had no idea what Business Wire was or even what a wire service is, let alone how we were contributing to the Berkshire bottom line. So we got to learn a lot from them, and they learned a lot from us.

Second, I got a real, firsthand look at what it means to be part of the Berkshire Hathaway family of companies. It’s one thing to see yourself on a list of BH holdings. It’s another to be on the spot along with Fruit of the Loom, Dairy Queen, Geico, MidAmerican Energy, BNSF Railway and the dozens of other companies represented. All of them, like Business Wire, market leaders, well-known brands and respected innovators in their industries. That’s pretty good company to be in.

Oh, by the way, I got to meet, in person, not only the gecko, but the money I could be saving. How many people get to say that?


Business Wire Smash!

April 30, 2010

– by Phil Dennison, Senior Marketing Specialist

The Incredible Hulk’s famous battle cry came to mind today as I arrived at the Qwest Center in Omaha to find our newly-assembled Penny Press machine, which will be used by attendees of the 2010 Berkshire Hathaway Shareholder Meeting to create their souvenir pennies for charity.  Mike Compton and his team from Renze Display did a terrific job putting together the penny smasher as well as the rest of our booth.

The best thing is that I got to be the first person to run a penny through it!  Several of them, in fact — one for each of the four designs we’re making available. With a bunch of shiny, newly-minted pennies in hand, I turned the crank for each design and was rewarded with four fun new souvenir collectibles. Even better, we’re providing a nice little keepsake card for your pennies.  And just one penny will look lonely, so of course you’re going to want to get all four, right?



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