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Some Tricks of the Trade: A CEO Hits the Golf Links

By Joseph Pereira

Reebok CEO Paul Fireman is an avid golfer and he sometimes plays with prospective business partners -- but he never talks shop until the round is over. Showing respect for the game is the best way to gain the respect of a potential business partner, he says. Mr. Fireman, who has a golf handicap of just 8, usually comes out ahead on the scorecard, but he says that hasn't led to any ill will among his opponents.

Mr. Fireman, who is building a $150 million course on the New Jersey shore, plays about 30 or 40 rounds a year, though only a handful are business-related. On those occasions, when he's deciding on the pairings, he puts players together based on how well they get along not on their skill levels.

Golf, he says, can sometimes take on a "boys' club" atmosphere, with foul language, drinking and taunting on the course. But for him, that's a turnoff, he says. Being well-mannered is the best way to land a business deal down the road.

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Article from Today – September 2005