One of my great successes is in choosing my partners. You won’t find an ego here. I didn’t do it. We started Wilson Mackie. We started FirstEnergy. We, my ex-wife and I, had three amazing kids. All my successes come with the word “we.”
One of the critical things FirstEnergy developed early on — and it was Murray Edwards that brought this discipline to the table — was weekly meetings. Every department has a weekly meeting, and all the partners have a weekly meeting. Many times the partners would come in begrudgingly saying, “There’s nothing new to discuss.” But you know what? We’d take an hour and a half and discuss nothing new. It was about team building, it was about understanding how everybody responded under pressure, and taking the time to get to know each other.
We certainly see $150 oil. The demand contraction that is occurring as a result of price escalation this time is dramatic. New truck sales are down 45% in two months. Hummer sales have gone to zero. The price swing has hammered the world, and it’s gone too far, too fast. As much as I see $150 oil, I can also see sub-$100 again in the next year.
The end of my active career as an I-banker really began around the time of my divorce in ’99. I’d been running pretty hard, hardly knew my kids and certainly had alienated my wife. I became aware of that when I went through my divorce, but I didn’t act on it until prostate cancer hit me and that was two years later.
My kids tease me and say, “Dad, you didn’t retire.” I have to keep saying, “I retired from FirstEnergy, not from life.” My activity levels have doubled, probably. I’ve started focusing on fun investments. I bought into two professional sports franchises — the West Tenn Diamond Jaxx and Derby County Football Club — and I’ve invested in a ton of farmland across Western Canada.
A very well written article by Michelle Magnan. Highly recommended.
If you like more info about Brett, you can also check out my video interview with Brett at his beautiful home in this blog entry here.