Jared Kushner
Jared Kushner

Superman Jared Kushner Scales Tall Buildings, etc… One would think the Trump administration was the most successful White House since FDR presided over the Oval Office, after reading the first son-in-law’s bio on the pitch deck for his Affinity Partners investment firm.

While other members of Team Jared get a paragraph, which is more than some of them deserve, the profile for Ivanka’s hubby covers two slides.

Zooming in on his White House days, Jared takes credit for managing relations with Mexico, handling the Middle East peace process and overhauling the federal prison and criminal justice systems.

He orchestrated the Abraham Accords that led to Israel signing peace treaties with the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Sudan, Kosovo and Morocco and ironed out the deal that lifted the Arab boycott of Qatar.

Not willing to rest on his Mideast laurels, Kushner hammered out the revised US/Mexico/Canada trade pact as well as trade deals with China, Japan and South Korea.

He then sweet talked Russia and Saudi Arabia to jack up oil production in the wake of the COVID-19 economic fallout and spearheaded negotiations that led to the US securing the 2026 FIFA World Cup and 2028 Summer Olympics.

Though the Trump administration has been rightly faulted for botching the COVID-19 pandemic, Jared soldiered on as co-leader of the effort to ramp up production of desperately needed PPE for the Strategic National Stockpile and then was one the geniuses of Operation Warp Speed, which expedited the development/distribution of vaccines here and in the rest of the world.

But the two-time Nobel Peace Prize nominee is a tad too modest. The bio glosses over Kushner’s greatest accomplishment.

That is the work that he did for Saudi Prince Mohammed bin Salman in downplaying the butchering of Washington Post contributor Jamal Khashoggi.

That work led to a $2B investment by Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund in Affinity Partners, though its advisors were against making the deal.

They cited Affinity’s inexperience and feared that such an investment carried “public relations risks.”

The appreciative bin Salman overruled the board and allowed the money to flow to his buddy’s firm.

Jared is set to conquer new worlds.

Abercrombie & Fitch today is a model corporate citizen focused on diversity and inclusion but a new Netflix documentary takes viewers back to the turn of the millennium when the retailer was the symbol of “preppy cool” and catnip for millions of suburban teenagers throughout the US.

Abercrombie’s collection of overpriced faded jeans, miniskirts and graphic tee shirts emblazoned with the moose logo promoted the white vision of beauty and style. The company did not sell plus-sizes.

Then-CEO Mike Jeffries famously said: “A lot of people don’t belong [in our clothes], and they can’t belong. Are we exclusionary? Absolutely.”

According to “White Hot: The Rise & Fall of Abercrombie & Fitch,” Jeffries was obsessed with youth and hired employees who were white, thin and had Eurocentric features.

A+F was hit with a class action racial discrimination suit in 2003, which alleged the store rejected Black job applicants and relegated minority workers to stockroom positions.

The company settled the case for $50M and was required to hire a chief diversity officer.

A&F’s website currently features white, Black and Asian-American models.

It also has a statement from CEO Fran Horowitz:

“We are committed to embracing diversity and inclusion at Abercrombie & Fitch Co. Creating an inclusive atmosphere and experience for our customers and associates, across our global organization, is a top priority for our brands.”

The Netflix film will be an eye-opener for current A&F staffers.

Examining the COVID-19 business travel wreckage… The American Hotel & Lodging Association expects US hotel business travel revenues will be down 23 percent ($20B) this year from pre-pandemic 2019 levels. That follows losses of $108B for 2020 and 2021.

While there’s been a tremendous upsurge in leisure travel, which will return to 2019 levels this year, business travel remains in the doldrums and will be for some time.

The Top Three Loser markets are San Francisco (-68.8 percent to $762M), New York (-55.3 percent to $2.6B) and Washington (-54.4 percent to $1.5B).

Looking for rays of sunshine is Chip Roberts, CEO of AHLA, who says dwindling COVID-19 cases and relaxed CDC guidelines provide a sense of optimism about a travel rebound.

After two years of virtual work, he believes road warriors are itching to get back into action.