Navigating the New Trade Landscape
For decades, the United States has worked to lower global trade barriers, enabling American businesses to aggressively enter new markets backed by pro-globalization policy tailwinds. That era has ended—the 2016 election made that crystal clear. In the rest of the world, the 21st century has been defined by ever-increasing levels of government support for businesses’ pursuit of trade opportunities. Meanwhile, America has been more hands-off. Our narrow focus on free trade agreements on one hand and sanctions on the other has left our companies, large and small, at a real disadvantage. As the longest-serving Chairman of the Export-Import Bank of the United States, Fred Hochberg can relay lessons from working in and traveling to more than 45 countries on behalf of American exporters and workers, laying out some surprising truths about global trade. Much of what the public and even members of Congress think they know about trade is wrong. And because many misdiagnose America’s trade problems, they also offer the wrong prescriptions. Fred can help audiences understand how to navigate today’s shifting trade landscape, advising on how to succeed overseas, utilize existing U.S. government resources, and win big deals. He will also challenge audiences to consider innovative solutions to forge a new bipartisan consensus on trade, including the importance of correctly framing the issue (it’s about exports, not trade) and recommending ways of engaging policymakers (employees should know when their paycheck comes from export sales). It’s these new approaches that will steer leaders toward ideas that actually level the playing field for American companies and workers.
Seizing on America’s Competitive Advantage
“Made in the USA” is one of our strongest brands and sells products worldwide. And America still does make a lot of things the world wants to buy It’s an assertion that you won’t hear from many politicians these days, but it is rooted in simple facts: we remain the world’s second largest exporter—while also attracting high levels of investment from overseas. Fred Hochberg will discuss the industries that will allow America to retain and improve these advantageous positions in the global economy, and educate audiences about the impact they have for tens of thousands of supply chain businesses, many of which are small businesses. He will also share anecdotes and lessons learned during his eight years working with top executives, financing some of the biggest deals in the aviation, oil and gas, space, infrastructure, agribusiness, and other sectors—including his work with innovative small businesses that have grown into leading global companies. He can also convey the ways your industry can frame its own competitive advantage with policymakers here at home and with customers overseas.
China and India: The Market Threats and Opportunities
As the longest-serving Chairman of the Export-Import Bank, Fred Hochberg traveled to China and India more than any other countries during his eight years in the role. He’ll share his insights on the competitive threat both countries’ businesses pose, the opportunities they represent for American companies and the keys to doing business—and dealing with state and national governments—in both countries.
The Near-Death Experience and How an Enterprise Recovers
Fred Hochberg will detail the two times in his long career in business, academia and government where the enterprises he led were driven to the brink. At Lillian Vernon, the family business he helped lead for 20 years, the near-collapse occurred as demand outpaced the company’s capacity to fulfill orders in the early 1980s. The company recovered, continued its growth and went public in 1987. At EXIM, the injury was inflicted by Congress, which shut down the agency’s ability to do any new deals for five months in 2015, only to reauthorize the Bank’s charter later that year. He will relay the lessons learned from both experiences, including the need for clear external and internal communication, and the ways these inevitable tests can strengthen businesses and institutions.
Fred P. Hochberg is a seasoned business executive and government leader, who has navigated organizations through rough waters and brought them to new heights. He recently concluded eight years of service as Chairman and President of the Export-Import Bank of the United States (EXIM), where he became the longest serving Chairman in the agency’s history and one of the highest-ranking LGBT Americans in any U.S. administration. Previously, he was Acting Administrator of the Small Business Administration (SBA) and Dean of the Milano School at the New School. Before entering public service, Hochberg spent almost two decades leading his family’s direct marketing business, Lillian Vernon, where he oversaw a 40-fold increase in revenue.
Leadership through Times of Crisis at EXIM
Hochberg led EXIM through a period that included historic demand for its services in the aftermath of the global financial crisis and unprecedented political attacks from Congress. During his tenure, the agency supported more than 1.4 million American jobs and financed exports with a value exceeding $240 billion, while generating $3.8 billion in profits for U.S. taxpayers and reducing internal agency costs by 30 percent.
Raising the Bar at the New School
From 2004 to 2008, Hochberg was dean of the Milano School of International Affairs, Management, and Urban Policy at the New School in New York City. Hochberg developed a core curriculum, bringing coherence and a shared experience to the school’s degree programs. He also raised the profile of the Milano School, bringing leaders from the business community, government and non-profit sectors to its campus. He also left Milano on a much firmer financial footing, established the Dean’s Alumni Council and pioneered an executive education program.
Asking More of the SBA
From 1998 to 2001, Hochberg served as Deputy, and then Acting Administrator of the SBA in the Clinton administration, where he quadrupled lending to minority- and woman-owned businesses and rapidly improved response times for American small business owners. He also expedited the agency’s adoption of more automated loan processing technology.
Growing a Family Business into a Household Name
Prior to his service at SBA, Hochberg was the long-time president and chief operating officer of the Lillian Vernon Corporation, where he led the transformation of a small, family-owned mail order company into an international, publicly traded direct marketing corporation. Leading the company for 18 years, Hochberg oversaw a nearly 40-fold increase in annual revenue, from $5 million in 1975 to $180 million in 1993.
A Focus on the Bottom Line from the Board Room
Hochberg is a past Board Commissioner of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, the Citizens Budget Commission, and FINCA International Micro Finance. He was also an appointed representative to the New York State Financial Control Board.
Fighting for Equality
Throughout his career in business, academic and public service, Hochberg has been a champion of expanding LGBT rights and promoting LGBT leadership in all sectors of the economy. He served as a board member and later as co-chair of the Human Rights Campaign, and is the founder of the David Bohnett LGBT Leadership Fellows Scholarship at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.
Hochberg received his undergraduate degree from New York University and his MBA from Columbia University. Hochberg’s partner is writer Tom Healy.