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Credited as one of the few people who warned of the global financial crisis, Gillian Tett is the US Managing Editor of the Financial Times having previously covered markets and finance for the paper.
A social anthropologist by training, Gillian worked extensively in Soviet-influenced Central Asia and eventually became Tokyo Bureau Chief for the FT. She later became deputy head of the influential Lex column. She was appointed the US Managing Editor, then worked as an assistant editor and columnist before returning to her US posting.
In the years immediately before the financial crisis, Gillian applied her academic ethnographic research skills to the investment bank JP Morgan. She discovered a corporate culture the rejected outside interference which led to the creation of complex financial instruments that few people understood. She concluded that the culture and those instruments could lead to a collapse.
Despite her findings being fatefully ignored, Gillian published Fool’s Gold: How unrestrained greed corrupted a dream, shattered global markets and unleashed a catastrophe just after the crisis exploded. Widely acclaimed and respected, it won the Spear’s Financial Book of the Year. Gillian was also the recipient of several prestigious journalism prizes, including the British Academy President’s Medal, the British Press Awards’ Columnist of the Year, and the Wincott Prize.
Whilst continuing her work at the FT and commentating in the media more generally, Gillian has expanded on some of the areas covered in Fool’s Gold in her book The Silo Effect: Why putting everything in its place isn’t such a bright idea. She highlights how organisational insularity doesn’t just stifle innovation, but can also lead to a blindness to problems that can bring down entire companies.