Between today and June 22, the former Davos producer Richard Attias is hoping to sign up about 150 more executives for his New York Forum, the new 36-hour conference that I wrote about in this week’s Observer. Whether or not Mr. Attias can do that will have a lot do with the Moroccan-born, French-educated businessman’s magnetism.
He is the charismatic type. When I first met him, he was having a casual post-lunch drink at the Four Seasons Hotel with Carly Simon and John Forté, who was chatting about Hobbes. When I interviewed him later on the sunny Gramercy Hotel Park rooftop, he talked with kingly gesticulation about Vikram Pandit and Arthur Sulzberger, who will both be at the forum.
Mr. Attias wants there to be serious people doing serious thinking about not just what went so wrong with the business world, but what has to be done for Wall Street to heal itself. So his allure will be put to the test. “He knows a lot of people, and they love him, and they trust him,” his wife, Cécilia, who left Nicolas Sarkozy for him, told me, “because he is the most adorable guy.”
Here is what she means.