Austrian Man Gives Up Wealth, Starts Charity for Entrepreneurs

A very unique — and inspiring — story from the Austrian Alps via The Telegraph. One can’t help but think that if more people thought in these terms, the world would be much better off.

Mr Rabeder, 47, a businessman from Telfs is in the process of selling his luxury 3,455 sq ft villa with lake, sauna and spectacular mountain views over the Alps, valued at £1.4 million.

Also for sale is his beautiful old stone farmhouse in Provence with its 17 hectares overlooking the arrière-pays, on the market for £613,000. Already gone is his collection of six gliders valued at £350,000, and a luxury Audi A8, worth around £44,000…

Mr Rabeder has also sold the interior furnishings and accessories business – from vases to artificial flowers – that made his fortune.

"My idea is to have nothing left. Absolutely nothing," he told The Daily Telegraph. "Money is counterproductive – it prevents happiness to come."

Instead, he will move out of his luxury Alpine retreat into a small wooden hut in the mountains or a simple bedsit in Innsbruck.

His entire proceeds are going to charities he set up in Central and Latin America, but he will not even take a salary from these.

"For a long time I believed that more wealth and luxury automatically meant more happiness," he said. "I come from a very poor family where the rules were to work more to achieve more material things, and I applied this for many years," said Mr Rabeder.

All the money will go into his microcredit charity, which offers small loans to Latin America and builds development aid strategies to self-employed people in El Salvador, Honduras, Bolivia, Peru, Argentina and Chile…

Since selling his belongings, Mr Rabeder said he felt "free, the opposite of heavy".

But he said he did not judge those who chose to keep their wealth. "I do not have the right to give any other person advice. I was just listening to the voice of my heart and soul."

Hat tip to The Huffington Post.

Sanford Debacle Provides PR Lessons for CEOs

Well, we’ve complimented South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford’s more sound and judicious moves on this blog in the past. Now, suffice it to say, "sound" and "judicious" might not be applicable for him this week (although we all have our bad weeks).

However, Ragan.com took a look today at how his disappearance — which ultimately led to the disclosure of his affair — could serve as a lesson for CEOs in the business world. Read on:

To paraphrase Simon and Garfunkel: Where have you gone, Mark Sanford?

For the past few days, journalists, politicians, South Carolinians, bloggers, and your wife wondered about your whereabouts. First, we heard you were hiking the Appalachian Trail.

Well, not so much.

It turns out that you were in Argentina visiting a woman with whom you’ve been having an affair. (That’s a whole other domestic communication quandary.)

The issue for corporate communicators is this: Let’s say your CEO leaves unexpectedly—doesn’t even send a postcard. How do you communicate the message to your employees and other stakeholders?

Dustin R. Walling, principal of Dustin Walling Associates, shares these four tips on dealing with a missing or ailing CEO.

Business as near-usual: Every good corporation of size has—or ought to have—a well-conceived set of strategic and tactical plans. This is one of the primary jobs of the CEO and the executive team. If these plans don’t exist, hire a management consultant and get to work.

Appoint the next in command: The COO, CFO, or another key executive is the likely candidate to stand in during the CEO’s absence. The board should meet immediately and appoint one executive, a member of their own ranks, or another trusted leader to the position. Continue reading