My Dinner With Henry

As president, chairman and CEO of Grey Global Group, Ed Meyer has spent more than his share of time in the friendly skies. But he got a run for his frequent-flier miles last month when he found himself sitting next to former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger at the 19th annual dinner of the Japanese Chamber of Commerce and Industry of New York. The two have run into each other several times during the past couple of years; this time they tried to sort out whose globe-trotting itinerary is busier. “We didn’t do it scientifically,” says Meyer. “But my guess would be that he won.”

The dinner was in honor of Kissinger, but Meyer introduced the keynote speaker, SEC chairman William H. Donaldson. “I basically recounted his stunning career,” Meyer says of Donaldson. “He was a highly decorated Marine during World War II, and he founded the Yale School of Management.” Donaldson also was a founder of investment bank Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette. “In the worlds of academe and commercialism and the military, he’s really done it all.” But Meyer was also enthralled by Kissinger’s speech. “He talks virtually without notes,” Meyer says. “When he got up to speak, it was as if he were in someone’s living room. It was marvelous.”

Meyer and Kissinger also have a friend in common: Barbara Walters. “He’s quite fond of her,” Meyer says. “And so am I.”