Tom Campbell: ‘Business Guru’ and candidate

I received an e-mail advisory that Tom Campbell — the former South Bay Congressman and former dean of the University of California, Berkeley’s Haas School of Business — will be speaking at the Commonwealth Club of California next month. The e-mail’s subject line calls him a “business guru.”

“The economic crisis leaves many people wondering if the United States and, specifically, California, will be poised to lead the world in the 21st century. What kinds of opportunities arise out of dire economic times? Will California be the place to do business in the 21st century?” the release asks, adding Campbell “will break down the economic imperatives of the state and nation” and “will describe what needs to be done to ensure California succeeds in these uncertain economic times.”

Read on for more.

The advisory goes on to list Campbell’s additional bona fides, such as his stints as the youngest professor ever to be awarded tenure at Stanford University and as director of the Bureau of Competition at the Federal Trade Commission and White House Fellow to the White House counsel.

But the release omits a few facts, oddly enough. For example, it makes no mention of the fact that Campbell from November 2004 through September 2005 served as finance director for Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, even as the governor was running up to his wildly unpopular 2005 special election.

And perhaps more significantly, it makes no mention of the fact that Campbell has formed an exploratory committee for a possible 2010 run to succeed Schwarzenegger as governor. Kinda puts a different spin on him coming out to talk about California’s economic future, doesn’t it?

With Steve Poizner and Meg Whitman already showing some deep-pocketed muscle in the GOP gubernatorial primary, maybe Campbell wants to get his speaking voice honed before he starts throwing elbows.

Anyway, Campbell will speak at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 11, at The Bentley School, 1000 Upper Happy Valley Road in Lafayette. Tickets cost $12 for Commonwealth Club members, $18 for non-members or $7 for students with valid ID, and are available on the Club’s Web site.

Josh Richman

Josh Richman covers state and national politics for the Bay Area News Group. A New York City native, he earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri and reported for the Express-Times of Easton, Pa. for five years before coming to the Oakland Tribune and ANG Newspapers in 1997. He is a frequent guest on KQED Channel 9’s “This Week in Northern California;” a proud father; an Eagle Scout; a somewhat skilled player of low-stakes poker; a rather good cook; a firm believer in the use of semicolons; and an unabashed political junkie who will never, EVER seek elected office.

  • ted ford

    Campbell is a highly respected economist who understands the State’s political dilemma. He would make an excellent Governor.

  • Tom

    It was a shame that way back when, he ran for senate against Dianne Feinstein rather than Barbara Boxer, who I think he would have had a much better chance of beating in a statewide election.