Kaamran Hafeez's New Yorker cartoon that resides in Bloomberg's conference rooms.


BLOOMBERG’S NOT-SO-SUBTLE HINT: Michael Bloomberg’s return as head of his company has not only impacted the size of his namesake media firm — it cut 90 jobs this year — but also its culture.

In the latest move, Bloomberg has installed a framed New Yorker cartoon in every conference room in its New York headquarters that reads: “I know we didn’t accomplish anything, but that’s what meetings are for.”

The cartoon, which was created by Kaamran Hafeez, depicts a typical scene from corporate America, namely a meeting in a conference room with suit-clad workers. The generic-looking office houses a bookshelf with frames and what appears to be awards, while the large window offers a partial view of skyscrapers and an airplane in the distance.

Bloomberg spokesman Ty Trippet declined to comment.

An insider surmised that Bloomberg — the man — had the cartoons placed in the conference rooms in order to “subtly discourage pointless meetings.” Another source noted that there seems to be an endless drag of meetings, making it impossible to book a conference room in the building, which is headquartered on 60th Street and Lexington Avenue.

Conference rooms seem to be a preoccupation at Bloomberg, which earlier this year changed course slightly by obscuring some of the conference rooms on the sixth floor. Once celebrated for its open plan, transparent, glass-enclosed conference rooms and offices, Bloomberg enclosed that area, which contains the chief executive officer’s office as well, with white, shiny walls that are no longer transparent.

That move followed an even bigger change, namely the reinstitution of time-stamping. Since late last year, Bloomberg has reinstated its practice of tracking employees’ whereabouts. Essentially, the time that workers swipe into work is stamped on intercompany e-mails for coworkers to see. This practice had been done away with under then-ceo Dan Doctoroff, who exited the firm on Bloomberg’s comeback tour.

Since Bloomberg returned last September, there has been a sense of instability — a rarity at a company that prizes its stability in a volatile industry. The former mayor of New York lured in longtime Economist editor in chief John Micklethwait to head up its News division, spurring executive editor Laurie Hays, whom many viewed as heir apparent for the job, to depart.

Later in the year, following the unveiling of its new Web site, Bloomberg dismissed digital head Josh Topolsky, who was responsible for its look and feel. The company then instituted a hiring slowdown, reorganized its television department, reduced the print frequency of Bloomberg Markets from monthly to quarterly and refocused its efforts on financial news to backstop its terminal business, which has lost some ground in the face of insurgent technologies.

The latest big change was the departure of chief content officer Josh Tyrangiel, who expressed his desire to exit once Micklethwait was hired. Tyrangiel, who rose quickly at Bloomberg from BusinessWeek editor in 2009 to overseeing all content across the company in 2014, left for Vice Media this month to serve as its executive vice president of content and news.

load comments
blog comments powered by Disqus