I stayed awake just long enough to graduate with an honors degree in Economics and Public Administration from London University. Now I know better and next time I would read History or Philosophy at Cambridge.
Place of residence
Manhattan –currently the greatest location on earth.
Ideal Residence “Greed can be political and immoral at the same time”
The Hacienda de San Antonio in Colima, Mexico –a gorgeous 19th century plantation beneath two active volcanoes, one always covered in ice and the other in fire. The house has a fountain courtyard, gardens like at the Alhambra, a bullfighting ring, a pool to rival the Hearst castle, an open air theatre and a few thousand acres of lush vegetation, riding trails, fishing streams and its own coffee plantation.
“Greed can be political and immoral at the same time”
Polygamous: married once to my wife and once to my work.
Vitae: I suffer from a professional version of A.D.D. I like to make things, so I started in brand management at Procter & Gamble and Philip Morris. Then I created three successful new ventures: a chain of espresso stores (Seattle Coffee Company –acquired by Starbucks), an internet consulting company (Syzygy –floated on the German stock market) and an e-commerce software company (Obongo –acquired by AOL Time Warner). I am currently building a new luxury goods brand (www.orielwines.com) and a new luxury resort in the Caribbean (www.amanyara.net). Go figure.
Your ideal dream vacation?
Sailing a Wally Yacht around the Aeolian Islands.
What’s your dream job?
For sheer pleasure it’s tough to beat my current gig making fine wines and luxury resorts, but for something more meaningful I wouldn’t mind a chance to shake up the U.N. (so long as I could have weekends off and take long summer vacations with my family).
What would you wear to the Oscar Awards?
The only reason to go to the Oscars is to walk down the red carpet and create a stir (not top of my priority list). But if I was going to do it I’d want to do it well, so I’d wear silk pajamas and a cape made of that funky new flexible video screen textile, so that I could be covered in movies as I moved.
Is sartorial appearance as important as one’s character or substance?
Mutton dressed as lamb is still mutton.… Lamb dressed as mutton isn’t a great idea either.
Who are your favorite fashion designer/designers?
My favorite designers include architects Luis Barragan, Santiago Calatrava and Shigeru Ban. My Favorite fashion designers include Issey Miyake, Badgley Mischka and Zac Posen.
Can it be said that one is ever over-paid?
Sure, But finding someone who is neither over-paid nor under-paid could take forever. Over-paid suggests that others wouldn’t hire that person at that price, while under-paid suggests they would.
What is your favorite way of spending money on lifestyle?
Fine wine and travel combine handsomely. Grapes grow only in great climates, and great cultures then grow up around them.
Is greed a moral or political issue?
That depends upon who is being greedy. Politics balances opposing strategies, while morals are about absolute rights and wrongs. Greed can be political and immoral at the same time.
What was J.P. Morgan’s legacy and why is this kind of person a rarity in today’s financial arena?
Morgan was an unparalleled financier. He helped pay off the U.S. Civil War debt. He averted a banking panic in 1907, and he was indirectly responsible for the creation of the Federal Reserve. He helped build the railroads that helped build the economy that ended WWII, and he cemented New York’s global position in the art world. Wealth has now exploded, debt has become acceptable, art has been snapped up and infrastructure is well established. So it’s a tough act to follow.
If you could wear any outfit to work, what would it be and why?
Entrepreneurs are burdened by the tyranny of choice. I don’t have to wear a suit so I have to decide what to wear every day. My ideal may be standard-issue prison stripes so that I don’t have to make any unnecessary decisions. Failing this, perhaps a wardrobe of identical crisp white t-shirts and loose dark blue suits from Comme Des Garçons?
What are your favorite hangouts?
When I am feeling sociable I love breakfast by the pool on the roof at Soho House in New York, lunch at the Voile Rouge in St Tropez and dinner on the terrace of the Villa San Michele in Florence. I have to keep secret the places I like when I’m feeling reclusive, but one of them would be reading by the pool at Amanyara, in the Turks and Caicos.
What would you rather be doing besides your present job?
I would rather spend less time on work and more time on family, friends and findings solutions to human problems.
I love the work of the Japanese photographer Hiroshi Sugimoto and the American sculptor James Turrell. Both deal in concepts of time and beauty that stimulate even as they calm the frazzled mind of 21st century man.
What are the limitations of wealth?
That we might confuse it with something important in and of itself…!