Last spring, Peter V. Ueberroth, managing partner of Contrarian Group, received the John Wooden Global Leadership Award. Each year, the JWGLA honors one person with this prestigious award for his/her exemplary leadership style and service to the community.
Just prior to his taking the stage at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel to receive his honor, I had the pleasure of sitting down with Mr. Ueberroth to discuss his leadership style, his mentors, his decision to purchase (along with his partners) the famed Pebble Beach golf course and his relationship with Coach Wooden. The entire interview will be published in a future issue of Anderson Assets magazine and a version of it is now online here.
Here is are a few excerpts from the Peter Ueberroth interview:
How would you describe your leadership style and how would your subordinates describe it?
I'm a pretty good selector of quality people with exceptional skills and am not afraid to seek out brighter people, more skilled in many ways than I am. Then I have to earn the right to be a leader.
Did you have a close relationship with Coach Wooden?
The answer to that question is "no." It wasn't a close relationship. He was open to me and encouraged me to come to him if we had issues to discuss, especially during the time of preparations for the Los Angeles Olympic Games. He felt he might be someone who could help, and he recognized that we would face a lot of challenges. He wasn't asking for that role; it was the reverse. I asked if we could go to him if we were stuck and couldn't figure something out. Privately, without attribution, I did that half a dozen times.
What motivated you and your partners to buy the Pebble Beach golf course and resort from the Japanese group that owned it at the time?
There are some places in the United States and in the world that deserve to be kept intact for generation after generation. When I learned that the Japanese ownership wanted to sell the property, I contacted my partner, Dick Ferris, who had been chairman of United Airlines and a lifelong friend. We, then, approached Bill Perocchi about buying the Pebble Beach property. I asked Clint Eastwood, who has been a friend for a lot of years, if he would like to participate, and Dick asked Arnold Palmer to join us. It's been a terrific partnership.