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WFU highlights new face of business, Charlie Rose to lead discussion on global competition

March 5, 2007

To address what American business and higher education must do to remain competitive in today’s rapidly changing global marketplace, Wake Forest University will host a panel discussion moderated by Emmy Award-winning journalist Charlie Rose at 4 p.m. April 10 featuring four top executives who represent a mix of global businesses:  satellite communications, computer technology, banking and branded apparel marketing. 

The event, “Jumping the Sun:  Creating Competitive Advantage in an Increasingly Flat World,” will be introduced by Sen. Richard Burr of North Carolina and will include panelists:  Charlie Ergen, founder, chairman and chief executive officer (CEO) of EchoStar Communications/DISH Network; John Medica, former senior vice president of the consumer product group at Dell Inc.; Ken Thompson, president and CEO of Wachovia Corporation; and Eric Wiseman, president and chief operating officer of VF Corporation. 

During the 90-minute event, Rose will present the panelists, all graduates of Wake Forest’s Babcock Graduate School of Management, questions related to how businesses can create value in the global economy through: identifying and capitalizing on trends and opportunities; infusing creativity and innovation into the economy; sustaining the entrepreneurial spirit; and training and developing future business leaders.

The discussion is part of the university’s “Voices of Our Time” speaker series.  Wake Forest President Nathan O. Hatch initiated the series to further expand what he considers the university’s broader “educational calling.”

"The university needs to be a crossroads of discussion, not just for those on its campus, but also for the community, the nation and the world,” Hatch said.  “Every day in the media, we hear about the challenges businesses face and it’s often discouraging news.  We all need opportunities to hear about what is working in our economy, and how higher education plays a critical role in equipping young leaders,” Hatch said. 

According to organizers, the panel discussion was titled “Jumping the Sun” to symbolize two important facts:  somewhere in the world the competition is awake and working, and American businesses must be prepared to jump into unknown territory.

"We need to see how a banking company, like Wachovia, uses their creativity and innovation to compete in the new world order,” Hatch said.  “We also need to hear how VF has transformed itself from a clothing manufacturer into a global branded apparel marketer.  This type of discussion is what helps generate hope, new ideas, better solutions and economic growth.”

The event will be held in Wake Forest’s Brendle Recital Hall in Scales Fine Arts Center and is free and open to the public.  Parking will be available.

For more information about the event, visit

NOTE TO EDITORS:  Media interested in covering the event should arrive no later than 3:15 p.m.  A limited number of audio feeds will be available on a first-come, first-served basis.  Cameras may be set up in the back of the auditorium or on either side of the stage as long cameras do not obstruct the audience’s view.   To arrange media coverage, contact Pam Barrett at (336) 758-5237 or

Press Contacts:

Pam Barrett
(336) 758-5237

Kevin Cox
(336) 758-5237

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