Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Hip Hop B’org of Directors

I innocently tuned into the BBC iPlayer to watch a program about hip hop stars and soon found myself in the midst of the B’org of Directors.  What in the world does hip hop have to do with the board of directors of big global corporations?
Start out Backstage and a minute into the film there is a credit to the Roc-A-Fella Records and Island Def Jam Music Group.  Shortly thereafter, I did not become interested in watching the film, but did become interested in doing some research.
My first question was whether Roc-A-Fella had anything to do with Rockefeller, you know, the well-known wealthy family, oil tycoons, and of course, it does.  Next, I discovered that Roc-A-Fella Records is a subsidiary of Universal Music Group (UMG).  Island Def Jam Music Group is a close relative because it was formed in 1999 when Universal Music Group merged two of its daughter companies Island Records and Def Jam Recordings.
Roc-A-Fella Records was founded in 1996 by Shawn "Jay-Z" Carter, Damon "Dame" Dash, and Kareem "Biggs" Burke.  Jay-Z is not only a hip hop entertainer; he’s an entrepreneur worth $450 million according to Forbes.  Dame is also an entrepreneur, but it was reported that he didn’t know what to do with himself and his net worth has fallen to $2 million.  Biggs was recently convicted with others of conspiracy to distribute as well as possessing with intent to distribute over 100kg of marijuana and is currently doing five years in prison.
Biggs left the company in 2004 and “it’s a well known fact that Jay-Z let the TIs talk him into paying Dame Dash $20 million or some shit for his stake in Roc-A-Fella, Rocawear, and anything else the two of them may have co-owned, back when Jay-Z was installed as the straw boss at Def Jam.” This is from an article about how Dame Dash is now claiming to be bringing the defunct company back with the album Pilot Talk by Curren$y.
Whatever is going on with Roc-A-Fella Records though is not really important because it's owned by UMG which in turn is owned by the French multinational corporation Vivendi SA (formerly known as Vivendi Universal) that is involved in mass media and telecommunications.
I noted that in 2004, 80% of the Vivendi Universal Entertainment branch was sold to GE to form NBC Universal and on January 25, 2011, GE purchased Vivendi's stake in a joint venture with Comcast.  Funnily enough, NBC Universal is headquartered in the Rockefeller Plaza in Midtown Manhattan, New York City (that name again).
Further, Vivendi and UMG acquired EMI Recorded Music on 28 September 2012.
So from hip hop, I went to Universal Music to the French Vivendi and side-tracked to GE.  What do they all have in common?  Besides connections with the name Rockefeller and entertainment, they share directors.  And why am I writing about this on my blog about food?  Because many of the directors of these corporations are serving or have served on the board of directors of the B’org of Food!  It’s an exercise in showing just how buddy buddy things are at the top.  It’s an example of what I mean by the B’org of Directors.  It’s also another reason to worry about what you view on “the big screen” at home and away!  There’s no independence and total control in much of what is being aired.
Now for some of the mundane details, I’ll list some of the directors of these few media conglomerates and their connections to the B’org of Food.  This is just a snapshot of the B’org of Directors, but I think it’ll give you the idea.
I drew a diagram to help keep the companies straight and started out with Roc-A-Fella Records since that is where my journey down this path began. As I’ve already mentioned, Roc-A-Fella Records is owned by UMG.  The Chairman, Chief Executive Officer and Member of the Management Board of UMG, Lucian Grainge CBE, served as a Member of the Management Board at Vivendi.  So you see here a direct hands-on relationship between the hip hop company and the big French media magnate.
Roc-A-Fella Records
owned by UMG      ® ® ®      Vivendi owns UMG
GE bought NBC Universal from Vivendi with Comcast
The directors of UMG, Inc., are not listed on their website, but I found them on the Bloomsburg Businessweek website.  Besides Lucian Grange (52), there are Barry Weiss, Marinus N. Henny and Jesus Lopez who have basically focused their careers in the music industry.
So now onto the bigger fish where they swim around without barriers.
Of the eleven directors listed on the Bloomsberg Businessweek website, I found the information on the following five particularly interesting.
Jean-René Fourtou serves as a Director of Nestle India Ltd., Schneider Electric; La Poste, NBC Universal and Rhodia.
Dominique Dubreuil B.A. (Law), M.A. (Public Relations) serves as Chairwoman of Rémy Cointreau SA.
Daniel Camus serves as a Director of France EDF Energy1 and Great Britain EnBW AG.
Jacqueline Bakker has been a Non Executive Director of Tesco plc since January 1, 2009.
Pierre Rodocanachi has received three honorary doctorates and was named Commander of the British Empire in recognition of returning ICL PLC to profitability.  Commander of the British Empire?  Well, actually, Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (CBE).  I reserve comment for now except that I find this title offensive.
Now on to GE, the owner of NBC Universal of which Jean-René Fourtou above is a director.  Fourtou also has his fingers in Nestle in India, which is promoted by Nestle Alimentana S.A. through a wholly owned subsidiary, Nestle Holdings Ltd., Nassau, Bahama Islands (I wonder if this has to do with tax evasion?). This company is in the food processing business of dairy, fruit and other and according to the Economic Times, GlaxoSmithKline (the pharmaceutical giant) is the biggest competitor at present.  But I stray off the beaten track ...
General Electric (GE)
Jeff Immelt is the CEO of GE as well as NBC Universal.  He is the ninth CEO of GE and has held positions in the company’s Plastics, Appliance, and Healthcare businesses.  I didn’t know GE was into healthcare!  I can see why though since modern medicine requires lots of electricity (all those operating theatres!).
On the GE website, there are 18 “Independent” directors listed including Jeff (no mention of any “Dependent” ones).  Here are the food connections I found, but please follow the link for more information.
1.      W. Geoffrey Beattie is a director of Maple Leaf Foods Inc.
2.     Dr. James I. Cash, Jr is a director of Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.
3.     Marijn E. Dekkers “joined Bayer, a global healthcare, crop science and material science company, on January 1, 2010, first serving as interim CEO of Bayer Healthcare and since October 2010 has served as chairman of Bayer's management group”.  Bayer: From Aspirin to Heroin to Yasmin.
4.     Ann M. Fudge didn’t fudge her B’org career.  She worked at General Mills and at General Foods, where she served in a number of positions including president of Kraft General Foods’ Maxwell House Coffee Company and president of Kraft’s Beverages, Desserts and Post Divisions. Ms. Fudge is a director of Novartis AG, Unilever PLC and Infosys Ltd. She is chair of the U.S. Program Advisory Panel of the Gates Foundation, and a trustee of the Rockefeller Foundation (there’s that Rockefeller name again).
5.     Alan G. (A.G.) Lafley served as chief executive officer then chairman of the board of Protector and Gamble (see photo above for some of P&Gs products).
6.     Robert W. Lane served as chief financial officer and president, and then as chief executive officer of Deere in its global construction equipment and agricultural divisions.
7.     Ralph S. Larsen is a former Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer at Johnson & Johnson, pharmaceutical, medical and consumer products.
8.     Rochelle B. Lazarus serves as a director of Merck & Co., Inc., (pharmaceuticals), the American Museum of Natural History, the World Wildlife Fund (“vehicle for controlling wildlife parks in Africa and elsewhere in which terrorist groups and mercenaries can gather, train...” Icke, the Biggest Secret) and Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts (where I studied at the School of American Ballet).
9.     James J. Mulva is a member of the board of visitors for the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center.
10. Sam Nunn is a director of The Coca-Cola Company.
11.   Douglas A. Warner III is chairman of the board of managers and the board of overseers of Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, and a director at Anheuser-Busch Companies, Inc.
The directors I didn’t list are involved in energy, science and financing which all have to do with modern food production too, but I kept the list to the most obviously food related for ease of reference.  I listed the cancer centers because this disease is caused by the sorry food and drugs we consume today.
That’s it for now.  As one can see, hip hop has become big business, all of which is orchestrated by the B’org of Directors.  I guess it’s not surprising that hip hop ties into the global Agenda of poisoning the masses with chemicals, some of which are even called food.  Hip hop ... from one corporation to another in order to carry out “the Plan”.  What a scam. I think I’ll do my own hip hop jam.  Man.  Cash in on Uncle Sam or Give a damn and Take the next tram.
I predict that “staying alive” might be the theme taking over from the popular hip hop cash, money theme soon.  Ah, Ha, Ha, Ha, staying alive ...  I’ll give a helping clue to conclude: money ain’t gonna save anyone.
Photo credit one: Roc-A-Fella
Photo credit two: P&G Welcomes New Members to U.S. Sustainability Expert Advisory Panel (from the photo, not sure what they're going to sustain, cancer maybe?)