Guy Rolnik

Guy Rolnik (born September 1968) is the Founder, creator and Founding Editor of TheMarker – Israel's most influential media organization in the last decade. Rolnik is also the Deputy Publisher of the Haaretz Group.

Rolnik is considered one of Israel's top journalists and editors. He is recognized by the organizations who gave him awards, as well as other journalists, as having a unique, independent and defiant voice in the Israeli press, standing up to Israel's most powerful business people, politicians and media.

Rolnik, a free market advocate is known for pointing out the many market failures in the Israeli economic system, both in the private and public sector, and the need to create values and a culture that promote productivity, effectiveness and equal opportunities.

In the last few years, Rolnik led a few journalistic campaigns that changed Israeli public discourse and the Israeli government's economic policies in many areas, mainly regarding structural reforms in the business and capital sectors.

Beginning in 2005, Rolnik set out on a campaign that included hundreds of columns, stories and features regarding the perils of the concentration of economic power in few hands in the Israeli economy and the danger is posed to competitiveness, prices, innovation and democracy. Pursuant to this campaign, in October 2010, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Bank of Israel's Governor Prof. Stanley Fischer set up a committee tasked with formulating recommendations for increasing competitiveness and decreasing concentration in the Israeli business sector. Its final recommendations were published on February 22nd 2012.

In 2009 Rolnik initiated a campaign advocating the introduction of competition in the cellular market, which was an important hub of profitability and power of Israel's biggest business conglomerates. Following this campaign, Minister of Communications Moshe Kahlon decided to open the market for competition. Following this decision, and after three years of the journalistic campaign, Israel's cellular bills dropped by fifty to ninety percent.

At the beginning of 2009, Rolnik warned against a plan that would help then-stressed Israeli tycoons bail out of their debts using tax payers' money. Following his commentary, the government decided not to cave in to the tycoons' demands and the pressures they generated using other newspapers.

On January 2011 Rolnik launched the "Israel 2021 Initiative", aimed at changing the Israeli public discourse, which was dominated by political and security issues. Rolnik called for more emphasis on economic issues and on long term planning. The two-day launch event was attended by 3,000 guests and hosted Prime Minister Netanyahu. The event's main feature was 175 roundtable discussions on 7 economic and social issues.

Later in the year, on July, the 2011 Israeli social justice protests broke out and the public discourse began to change. Many of the protesters used roundtables to have their discussions. Following the protests, Rolnik's ideas started to seep through to larger parts of the Israeli public. In the period since its launch, the Israel 2021 Initiative helped change the Israeli public discourse to the point that the 2013 Israeli general election campaigns focused more on economic issues.

In April 2012, Mako, a news website owned by Israel's leading television broadcaster Keshet wrote that Guy has "sprouting [...] – and most keenly relevant - pair of fangs in Israeli journalism" and added that "In these times, as it turns out how tycoons exploit us and pyramidal business conglomerates gobble our assets, and how government officials stand by them and not by us, Rolnik and his team are a courageous beacon of light in a media world bent by vested interests and their controlling shareholders. Well before the social-justice protests gained momentum, TheMarker had formulated its principles. When the masses took to the streets, Rolnik could fairly write to his readers, 'I told you so'.” [1]

Career

Rolnik’s journalistic career started during his army service, when he served as the business correspondent of Galey Tzahal (Israel Army Radio). Immediately after his discharge, in 1990, he joined Haaretz newspaper as a business reporter. 4 years later he created the newspaper’s capital markets section and was its first editor. On January 1994 Rolnik started publishing a daily column, “Shovi Shuk” (Market Cap), which became Israel’s most influential business commentary. In 1998 Rolnik was named Haaretz’ economic editor and a member of the newspaper’s editorial board. He was the paper’s youngest ever person to be nominated to these posts (age 30).

In late 1999 Rolnik set out on his first entrepreneurial venture, as he left his roles in Haaretz to found, along with U.S. investors and the Haaretz Group, a new company that published Israel’s first Independent news website – TheMarker. A year after it was founded, TheMarker expanded its operations and started publishing its weekly print magazine: TheMarker Magazine. In 2005 Rolnik led Haaretz’ business section’s transformation, which included renaming it TheMarker.

In 2007 Rolnik was nominated by Haaretz’ board of directors to the Group’s Deputy Publisher. In a press release announcing the nomination, Haaretz’ Publisher Amos Schocken said: “Guy brings proven abilities of dynamic, creative leadership to the task, alongside consummate journalistic talent. I shall continue to serve as publisher of the group and to chair the board of directors, but gradually, Guy will assume more responsibility, while I shall focus on certain areas”.[2] Schocken added that “In the last several years Rolnik has spearheaded the establishment of TheMarker, as an entrepreneur, a journalist and, in practice, as publisher. TheMarker's wide-ranging activity has become the central arena for business journalism in Israel, and has become a major growth driver for the Haaretz Group as a whole. At TheMarker, Mr. Rolnik, proved that changes in the media world can be turned into opportunity, and that rapid growth can be achieved even during this challenging time for the industry. I am convinced that we can do the same regarding the other sections of the Haaretz Group”.

Education

Rolnik has a BA degree in Economics from Tel Aviv University and an MBA from the Tel Aviv and Northwestern Universities’ Kellogg-Recanati program. He also graduated from Harvard University’s Advanced Management Program (AMP).

Accomplishments

In June 2005 he received Israel’s Movement for the Quality Government’s “Knight of Quality Government” award. In its explanation for awarding Rolnik, the movement said that it was given to him “in gratitude for a unique contribution in the media for uncovering faults and in the public service, for a struggle against corruption and for the improvement of the quality of public sector. In his commentary, Rolnik raises the level of public criticism on the government’s behavior and underscores its importance to the improvement of the quality of government. By doing so he sets an example of quality to his colleagues in the media and to the Israeli society”.[3]

In July 2007 TheMarker was named the winner of the Platinum Effie Award for the most effective advertising or marketing campaign of 2007 in Israel.[4] The award followed the re-launch of Haaretz newspaper’s business supplement in January 2005 in compact size sheet and rebranded “TheMarker”. Rolnik accepted the reward on TheMarker’s behalf.

In January 2008 Rolnik was awarded a quality of economic journalism prize by Israel’s Society for the Public’s Right to Know.[5] In its explanatory notes, the organization wrote that “Rolnik is one of the best business journalists and commentators in Israel today. In his clear and challenging writings, Rolnik demonstrates civilian courage of the first degree and does not refrain even from writing about, and even attacking, influential elements in the Israeli economy”.

In December 2012 Rolnik was awarded was acknowledged by the Kinneret College for fighting the concentration of economic power and for his continued support of the July 2011 social protests.[6] In its statement, the college said that Rolnik "succeeded in creating an outstanding newspaper within a few years, constantly guiding its readers in the complex local and global economic and social environment and encouraging the adoption of social change".

Press Mentions

In February 2011, The New Yorker's Editor, David Remnick, published a story about Haaretz and Schocken. In his story Remnick wrote: "Under the leadership of a young, hyper-ambitious editor named Guy Rolnik, TheMarker brought a new, more youthful audience to Haaretz — one at least as interested in the high-tech industry as it is in the Palestinian issue — just as the worldwide newspaper crisis hit. TheMarker, which can be bought separately, has helped save the paper. Rolnik has been especially good at publishing investigative pieces on what he calls the 'Israeli oligarchs,' a small group of billionaires and their families who control much of the national economy".[7]

In March 2011, Daniel Doron, a leading Israeli economist and the director of the Israel Center for Social and Economic Progress, pointed out in The Jerusalem Post to Rolnik and TheMarker's uniqueness in Israeli media: "The strong bond between government and capital that developed here has a third partner, the media. Until recently, when Yisrael Hayom broke the mold, the media were a duopoly owned by the tycoons, and protected them (with the noble exception of TheMarker and its valiant editor Guy Rolnik, who, at great cost, leads the struggle against excess media concentration)".[8]

In October 2011, Israel’s leading broadcast television channel, Channel 2, aired a program dedicated to the previous Jewish year’s main events, the major one being the summer’s social protests. In it, the presenter emphasized TheMarker’s and Rolnik’s central role: “… the hundreds of thousands that took to the streets in the summer strengthened the ideological plight of TheMarker and its Editor-in-Chief, Guy Rolnik, against the concentration of economic power in the hands of few and against the nation’s tycoons. Even though it ranks only at number 4 in its readership, in the past months, TheMarker became Israel’s most influential newspaper".[9]

In December 2011, “The Source”, the leading investigative program of another television broadcast channel, Channel 10, also highlighted Rolnik’s significant influence on the Israeli economy. The program's anchor, Raviv Druker, said he "identifies" with Rolnik's fight against tycoons and added that "Rolnik and TheMarker created, with their own hands", the government-appointed committee that dealt with the concentration of economic power. "It is thanks to them", he said, "that we found out the extent to which our capital and debt markets sometimes resemble a closely-knit circle of cronies."[10]

In April 2012, Mako, a news website owned by Israel's leading television broadcaster Keshet published a list of "Israel's 50 most interesting people", in which Rolnik was included. Keshet's journalist, Dror Globerman, wrote there: "Even during these tough times for the press in general and Haaretz in particular, it seems that this seasoned editor understands very well which side his bread is buttered, and it isn’t on the side of staying in the good books of advertisers; it’s on the side of biting critique, giving his readers the feeling that there is somebody they can count on. And while about it, he sets an important standard for his colleagues." [11]

References

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