In Craiova, Romania at the 10th World Congress: The Human Being as a Species: Its Nature and Functions, presenting my paper “Profiles of CEOs from Top-Performing Multinational Manufacturing versus Financial Organizations: Age, tenure, internal hiring, and gender”.
Fact about the paper: Financial and industrial CEO profiles were researched and findings include some of the following notes: The average age for the industrial companies was older by over two years, with financial CEOs averaging 56.72 years while industrial CEOs averaged 58.92 years. Tenure of industrial CEOs was over a full year higher than that of financial CEOs, and the industrial sector had more likelihood of hiring someone from within the company with 79.2% being internal hires versus 68.1% for financial CEOs. Lastly, The Asian CEOs were all internal hires and the European CEOs had the longest job tenure.
Country Manufacturing as a % of GDP (Rank of seven countries): 35%, 1st out of 7-most industry-intensive/reliant (Theodora stats)
Country’s most Important Industries: arms, mining, consumer durables, and textile/athletic apparel (since Western European labels generally outsource production there)
WWII fact: After the fall of France, the Romanian government formed an allegiance w/ the Axis powers and helped in the German invasion of the USSR. The country later switched sides in 1944 after being subject to intense bombing, and eventually fell under the thumb of Communism/USSR for the Cold War, while never coming close to regaining its pre-war stature.
Craiova is the 6th largest city in Romania so some of this will be information about the country of Romania. Transylvania, home of Dracula’s castle, is in Romania. The economy has struggled versus its European peers since the end of the Cold War, having a strong cigarette smuggling underground, and the government has enacted a new law taxing witchcraft, sorcery, and any black-magic trades. Romania has the largest gypsy population in the world. I can attest that smoking is rampant. Every establishment that I visited had ash trays at every table. There are no indoor smoking bans and this really reminds me of College where everybody seemed to smoke all the time.
Craiova was home of the first fountain-pen in 1827. The city was invaded and burned by the Turks in 1802. It was the first city to be powered by electricity. The communist regime chose the city of Craiova to be a center for industrial development in the 1960s, including engine production and automobile development.
Well, the only way to Craiova was through the capital of Romania…Bucharest. I mistakenly thought that I could take a train to Craiova from anywhere in Europe. That was a lesson learned.
The train ride from Bucharest to Craiova took much longer than it should. It seemed like it was going very slow as compared to the other European trains. Bucharest is somewhat isolated as a capital, and Craiova is a three-hour train ride from Bucharest, so you can image how Craiova might be. There were no electrical outlets on this trains as well, which was a surprise.
Cab rides seem to cost 1/6 of what they do anywhere else in Europe. Also, the hotel room was 1/2 the price, with 3X the extravagance. Most everyone was nice and helpful. The city is going through an intense infrastructure modernization, including the construction of a tram through their main street. This is because next year they are applying to be the official “cultural capital of Europe” for the year 2021, which annually gets awarded to a different city.
I don’t mean to be stereotypical, but after having gone on several trips to other areas in Southeast Europe, people generally talk louder and are more expressive in their mannerisms in this region of the world. However, there is less bravado and arrogance as compared to the other countries in Europe. Sounds odd, but it’s true. Also, there were a bunch of stray dogs… even more than in West Terre Haute.
Craiova is home to a major multinational production facility…. Ford Motor Co. It was established in 1935 but taken over by the Axis powers for their own use during WWII. Their workers work very hard and are grateful for the employment (wasn’t able to take pictures inside). There was a dealership around the corner as well. To see a Ford dealership in Europe is very odd… to see a Ford car at all in Europe is odd.
On to the conference. There was a much different vibe at this conference as compared to the EGOS in Rotterdam. Maybe that is because I haven’t encountered any Frenchmen at this one.
A hospitable University of Craiova Physics professor showed me and two Chinese attendees around the original massive University of Craiova building, which was its initial venue for all activities after WWII as even the communist regime understood the need for higher education in their city.
Socially, there was much soccer (aka football) watched, and some really good conversations. The French lost while I was in Craiova, which nobody seemed to be upset about. There isn’t much immigration in Romania and the society is not too multicultural. Practically nobody spoke English unless they were affiliated with the University or the conference. Even the younger taxi drivers didn’t speak any English. People did seem to care more about their jobs, though. One of the older taxi drivers was able to get across to me that there were only one or two channels (state-run music) before the fall of Communism. None of the taxis had a GPS and several didn’t even have meters. Even though it’s only a few countries east of Germany, it felt like a whole different world. Many of the shackles of the Communist regime still have a profound stifling effect on the citizens, especially the older ones who had absolutely no exposure to Western culture for their early lives. However, there were less people “on the hustle” as compared to Western European countries and less of a need to watch your back.
Personally, one of the highlights of the trip is that the country is at least 85% of the citizens are Orthodox Christian. Romania is one of only two European countries with an official national religion (Greece being the other). It was really nice to see so many churches pop up into the scenery at all sorts of different places. I met several Romanian Orthodox priests who teach Theology at the University of Craiova. The priest at the right in the picture has a publishing company that has published hundreds of texts on Orthodoxy which have been exported around the world.
The taxi cab driver that took me to the airport made the sign of the cross three times every time we passed a church. This occurred about seven total times in 10 miles. I decided to follow suit. Then, once we got to the airport, he tried to convince me to pay him 30% extra… oh well- just goes to show that you can’t judge a book by its cover.