Teneo’s lips are sealed… The self-described “global CEO advisory firm” says it is “a proud American company with great respect for Congress,” but its lips are sealed when the US Senate asks questions about its work for the Saudis.
That was the message from co-founder Paul Keary who testified Feb. 6 before the Senate’s Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations.
That panel is probing the work that Teneo, McKinsey & Co., BCG and dealmaker Michael Klein do for the Kingdom’s $700B Public Investment Fund and its foray into US sports.
The PIF hired Teneo to handle communications surrounding its investment in US professional golf.
A Saudi court has sued the firms in Saudi Arabia to prevent them from handing over PIF-related documents to the US lawmakers. It claims those documents are classified.
Keary said he understood the Senate’s frustration about not receiving the requested documents. “We are firmly committed to finding a path forward in which we continue to work cooperatively and in good faith with the Subcommittee and the PIF to meet your oversight interests,” he testified.
Senator Richard Blumenthal, chair of the Subcommittee, summed it up nicely: “You say you are between a rock and hard place but you have chosen sides: you have chosen the Saudi side, not the American side.”
The PIF will pay Teneo $4.1M in 2024 fees, according to its renewed one-year contract that went into effect on Jan. 1.
Clean and spiffy. Florida governor Ron DeSantis scored a great PR victory in 2023 when he stripped local government control of Disney World from arch-enemy Walt Disney Co.
His Central Florida Tourism Oversight District has taken the place of the Disney-dominated Reedy Creek Improvement District.
And what a breath of clean fresh air. On Jan. 18, CFTOD issued an attire and grooming policy for employees (formerly “cast members”) at Disney’s parks.
Here's a sampling: Undergarments may not be visibly exposed. Patterned or colored undergarments that are visible when worn under light-colored clothing are not permitted. Clothing that reveals backs, chests or stomachs is out.
On casual Fridays, forget about wearing shorts, beachwear, crop tops or spaghetti straps or tops with logos other than the Disney brand one.
And what are Ron’s grooming tips? “Due to the nature of our work, local climate and hygiene: regular bathing; frequent hand-washing; clean, neat hair; and the use of an antiperspirant or deodorant is required.”
Nails must be clean and trimmed, with their length not to exceed 1/4” beyond the fingertip. Shaving of eyebrows is not permitted. Ear piercings are limited to two per ear, and only on the earlobe. Mustaches must be neatly trimmed, never appearing bushy or unkempt.
Failures to meet the standards may result in “corrective action” or expulsion from the premises for a change of clothing or a bath.
There’s no word on whether the CFTOD will take a page from the book of the mullahs of Iran and create a corps of morality police to enforce the dress and grooming codes.
Muzzling the Palestinian media. The Israel Defense Force has a novel way of censoring the Arab media. Since the horrific Oct. 7 attack by Hamas, Israel has arrested 38 Palestinian journalists, most of them without any charge, according to Reporters Without Borders.
Thirty four of the journalists have been arrested in the West Bank. They are being held in locations in Israel.
RTF says the arrests of journalists is a way to silence the Palestinian media.
A story that Israel may want to silence is the upswing in settler violence against Palestinians in the West Bank.
From Oct. 7 to Jan. 30, 299 Palestinians were killed in the West Bank, compared to 507 for all of 2023, according to the United Nations.
From an Israeli viewpoint, that’s a story that is best swept under the rug.