POTAMKIN EXHIBITS BUSINESS DRIVE
Robert Potamkin L’70 runs auto
dealerships, develops real estate and
invests in other businesses such as radio
stations, television stations, and Office
Depot stores in Poland and Hungary.
And he’s done exceptionally well, with
68 auto franchises all over the United
States. He projects gross revenues of
$1.6 billion for 2002. So, to what does
his good fortune accrue?
Potamkin traces his success to the
business acumen he acquired while studying law at Penn. The auto mogul
expounded on the car business as he spoke at the 17th Institute for Law and
Entrepreneur Lecture last September.
He said a major part of the value in his far-flung dealerships derives from the
real estate on which the dealerships are located. Expanding on this point, he
said car manufacturers make excellent tenants: They pay the rent and tend to
stay in one location for a long time. Value attaches as well to management by
talented general managers who have an ownership interest in the specific location
they run which, in Potamkin’s words, “guarantees a committed and savvy
manager.” As a successful dealmaker, Potamkin advised: “There is no good deal
with a bad guy.”
As much the well-known philanthropist as entrepreneur, he was co-founder of the
Potamkin Prize for Alzheimer’s Research, was a member of the Young Presidents’
Organization and remains active in the World Presidents’ Organization. Potamkin
and his wife, Lexie, also are members of the United Way Million Dollar Roundtable,
supporting the organization with their gift of $1 million.
PARTICIPATE IN LABOR
Members of the National Labor Relations
Board (NLRB) participated in a daylong
roundtable discussion on labor law last
December. The first subject was Judging
Unions’ Future Using a Historical Perspective:
The Public Policy Choice Between
Competition and Unionization. Next a panel
of experts talked about Employment
Representation in the Boundaryless
Workplace. The last panel discussed NLRB
v. Pall Corp: Bargaining for Recognition
Rights. Harold Datz, NLRB’s chief counsel,
and NLRB member Wilma B. Liebman were
participants. Moderators included Michael L.
Wachter, William B. Johnson Professor of Law
and Economics at the University of
Pennsylvania, and Marshall B. Babson of
Jones, Day Reavis & Pogue. Babson is a
former member of the NLRB. Edward B.
Rock, Saul A. Fox Distinguished Professor of
Business Law, is co-director with Wachter of
Penn’s Institute for Law and Economics.