France! New and improved!

FrenchflagWe’ve never really thought of the French as being, as they say, “in-your-face,” but an ad touting how wonderful France is for business on the back page of today’s New York Times business section certainly, uh, made us sit up a little straighter in our chair. An interview with GE Europe CEO Nani Beccalli, its headline shouts, “What could make the European CEO of one of the world’s largest companies admit to an attraction for France?” Its tagline: “The New France. Where the Smart Money Goes.” (You can look at an accompanying promotional web site here.)

While our first guess would have been that CEOs—and the rest of us—are attracted to France for the wine and food, Beccalli talks about how “The French have a passion for engineering and technology.” Snore.

But, the best part is when he knocks his home country. Asked “Would you live [in France]?” Beccalli responds, "Absolutely. Paris is my favorite city. I’m Italian, but I prefer Paris to Rome by a factor of 100.” You might be moving sooner than you think.

—Posted by Catharine P. Taylor