Fidel Died and Raúl Resigned, but Castros Still Hold Sway in Cuba


But even Mr. Castro, with his revolutionary credentials and fraternal connections, could not pull off all of the changes he had set out to make. Too many old-guard associates put up obstacles when they saw the widening inequalities that accompanied economic reforms. So although Mr. Castro is widely believed to be planning a move from Havana to Santiago de Cuba — on Cuba’s southeastern coast, the other side of the country — he is not expected to leave Mr. Díaz-Canel entirely to his own devices.

Mr. Castro was credited with strengthening institutional control and formalizing the concept of consensus governing. He believes in delegated authority. He has made sure that there are enough internal checks and balances to keep an eye on any successor with big ideas, while still watching this one’s back. Mr. Díaz-Canel was a handpicked successor, and it is not in Raúl Castro’s interest to see him fail.

“Raúl will be watching,” said Andy S. Gómez, a Cuba expert, now retired, who worked at the University of Miami. “Raúl, as first party secretary, will be not only watching him, but, more importantly, being there for him, symbolically, so he can move forward.”

Alcibíades Hidalgo, who was Raúl Castro’s chief of staff for a dozen years, believes that his former boss will hold on to power “until the day he dies.”

Photo

Alejandro Castro Espín, left, Raul Castro’s son, runs the intelligence services for both the armed forces and the Interior Ministry.

Credit
Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Alejandro Castro Espín, 52, is Raúl Castro’s son. Mr. Castro Espín runs the intelligence services for both the armed forces and the Interior Ministry. That is a big task in a country that works hard to stifle dissent and sniff out spies.

Mr. Castro Espín was part of the team that negotiated with President Barack Obama’s administration over restoring diplomatic ties with the United States, a sign that he is part of the most trusted inner circle.

But he also has serious anti-imperialist credentials: The title of a book he wrote in 2009, “Empire of Terror,” offers a not-very-subtle clue of his opinion of Cuba’s big neighbor to the north.

“The most important of the younger generation is Castro Espín,” said Brian Latell, a former C.I.A. analyst who has closely watched the Castro family. “I think he has a lot of influence with his father.”

Juan Juan Almeida, the son of a Cuban revolutionary war hero, grew up with Mr. Castro Espín and lived in his house when they were children. He said he was not convinced that his former best friend had the skills to succeed after his father dies.

“He’s powerful, but his power was given to him by his father,” Mr. Almeida said. “He will last as long as his father’s power lasts.”

Some experts believe that Raúl Castro would have liked to have made his son president, but that it would have looked bad internationally to have another Castro take over.

Gen. Luis Alberto Rodríguez López-Callejas was a Castro by marriage — he used to be married to Raúl Castro’s daughter Débora, and is the father of Mr. Castro’s favorite grandson.

General Rodríguez is president of Gaesa, the holding company that controls the military’s business interests. The military runs all of the hotels and state-run restaurants, convenience stores and gas stations, making General Rodríguez one of the country’s most powerful men.

“He must have 1,200 companies under him,” said Guillermo Fariñas, an outspoken critic of the government who lives in Villa Clara Province. “I think the one who manages the country economically is him.”

Raúl Rodríguez Castro, General Rodríguez’s son, is Raúl Castro’s bodyguard, the kind of position that lends itself to knowing all kinds of secrets, Mr. Fariñas said.

Photo

Mariela Castro, center, is Raúl Castro’s daughter, a Cuban lawmaker, the director of the National Center for Sexual Education and an outspoken supporter of the rights of gay and transgender people.

Credit
Ramon Espinosa/Associated Press

Mariela Castro is Raúl Castro’s daughter. A member of Parliament, she enjoys an international and domestic following, largely because of her support for gay and transgender rights.

“Mariela is part of the scenery,” Mr. Hidalgo said. “She’s a decorative figure with a nice cause. In terms of power, she is far from the role of her brother or her ex-brother-in-law.”

Mr. Almeida said it boiled down to appearances.

“In terms of becoming a vice minister or joining the Council of State, I don’t see her doing that,” Mr. Almeida said. “The idea is to present a democratic face and erase the faces of the past. For the international community, they need to offer a nice friendly face of Cuba, which means not putting forth a Castro.”

Mr. Hidalgo, a former ambassador to the United Nations who later defected and now lives in Miami, does not think it will work.

“They are trying to give an appearance of change to what is fundamentally the same,” he said. “They are trying to continue Castroism without Castros in the near future, which is practically impossible.”

Continue reading the main story

Trump Wants to Close Trade Gap, but Leaves Export Agency in Limbo


In the past, the bank had been used by large corporations like Boeing and General Electric, which received loan guarantees to sell products like airplanes, satellites and industrial equipment to developing countries, lifting sales and supporting American jobs. It has provided loan guarantees to overseas airlines looking to buy American-made jets and helped organizations like the Environmental Chemical Corporation build water facilities in Africa.

Photo

The Export-Import Bank, a federal agency, provides loan guarantees to American companies selling to foreign customers.

Credit
Chris Kleponis/Bloomberg

Proponents of the bank, including some lawmakers, argue the institution could be a powerful weapon for a president who wants to increase domestic manufacturing and narrow the gap between what the United States imports and what it exports overseas.

Ex-Im provides the kind of government subsidies that other nations regularly use to help domestic companies compete abroad. Mr. Trump regularly blames those subsidies for a flood of cheap imports, saying they exacerbate the United States trade imbalance.

The bank was languishing before Mr. Trump took office, but it has worsened under his watch. Last year, Mr. Trump’s pick to oversee Ex-Im, Scott Garrett, a critic of the bank, was rejected by the Senate over concerns that he would close the agency. The other directors who were nominated by Mr. Trump remain stalled in the Senate, and the president has yet to pick a new leader to take the helm.

To business groups, manufacturers and veterans of the bank, Mr. Trump appears to be undermining his own trade aspirations by leaving Ex-Im in the lurch.

“I’m not sure he’s really being well served,” said Fred P. Hochberg, the most recent chairman of the bank, who departed in 2017. “If you want to be able to reduce trade deficits and you want to be able to export more, particularly capital goods, that’s what an Export-Import Bank does.”

In recent years, the bank has been barely functional. According to its most recent annual report, Ex-Im authorized just $3.4 billion of mostly short-term export credit in 2017. That is down from the $20 billion that it authorized in 2014, the last year that the bank was fully operational. The report points out that China provided $34 billion in medium- and long-term financing for its exports in 2016, underscoring the competitive disadvantage that the United States faces.

The bank’s crippling has been costly for both companies and their workers, including Boeing, which Mr. Trump has hailed as an emblem of American innovation. In the last two years, two deals involving the sale of its commercial satellites have been canceled and one was significantly delayed given the lack of a quorum at Ex-Im. The stalling of these deals alone has cost the company hundreds of millions of dollars.

“Restoring the Export-Import Bank to full strength is the single best thing Washington can do right now to build on the economic momentum of tax reform, shrink our trade deficits and level the playing field so American workers can win,” said Tim Keating, Boeing’s executive vice president for government operations.

Photo

Fred P. Hochberg, the most recent chairman of the bank, who departed in 2017. Ex-Im has been without a leader since President Trump took office.

Credit
Drew Angerer for The New York Times

In 2015, General Electric said that it would stop manufacturing certain gas engines in Waukesha, Wis., and that it would instead build a $265 million plant in Canada, which was offering financial support through its version of Ex-Im, known as Export Development Canada. G.E. attributed the move to the lack of United States export financing, saying in a statement that the company “will secure access to Canadian Export Finance to fill the gap from the lapse of the U.S. Export-Import Bank.”

After the bank’s board became empty last month, Jay Timmons, the chief executive of the National Association of Manufacturers, sent letters to every senator urging them to hold a vote on Mr. Trump’s nominees. Mr. Timmons warned that the lack of action was costing American jobs.

“Countries in Europe and beyond have been luring U.S. manufacturers to set up shop overseas to take advantage of foreign export financing because the U.S. system is effectively broken,” Mr. Timmons said. “Manufacturers in the United States have lost billions of dollars in deals, and tens of thousands of American workers have lost opportunities for well-paying jobs supported by the exports that the Ex-Im Bank could have helped secure.”

At a congressional hearing last week, Representative Charlie Dent, Republican of Pennsylvania, pressed Steven Mnuchin, the Treasury Secretary, about the fate of the bank and argued that not using its financing amounted to a lost opportunity. He suggested that some in the Trump administration wanted the bank to collapse.

“The president says he wants to see the trade deficit shrink, here’s a way we can do it,” Mr. Dent said.

In an interview after the hearing, Mr. Mnuchin would not say when the president would nominate a new leader for the bank, or whether some of his colleagues were rooting for its demise, but he insisted that Mr. Trump supported keeping the bank alive.

“The president does want it to function,” Mr. Mnuchin said.

In an interview last year with The Wall Street Journal, Mr. Trump said he had initially been opposed to Ex-Im, seeing it as unnecessary, but had changed his mind.

“So instinctively you would say it’s a ridiculous thing, but actually it’s a very good thing and it actually makes money,” he said. “You know, it actually could make a lot of money.”

Photo

A Boeing plant in North Charleston, S.C. In the past, Boeing and large corporations like it have asked the bank for loan guarantees to sell products like airplanes, satellites and industrial equipment to developing countries.

Credit
Randall Hill/Reuters

But the White House has done little to advance its nominees and politics continue to be an obstacle. Conservatives have traditionally disliked the bank because they argue that it amounts to corporate welfare and rewards rich corporations that do not need taxpayer assistance.

“They distort markets, impose risk on taxpayer sand they’re bad policy for everybody,” said Senator Patrick J. Toomey, Republican of Pennsylvania, who has been one of the most outspoken critics of Ex-Im and favors private financing alternatives.

Mr. Toomey has used procedural tactics to delay the nomination of the remaining nominees to the bank’s board. He said he wanted Mr. Trump to pick a “reformer” like Mr. Garrett, who does not believe in the current mission of the bank. And he said he hoped that the president would urge other countries to unwind their export financing banks as part of his trade negotiations.

Democrats who support the bank are growing increasingly impatient.

“One of the best things we can do to help the economy support jobs is to get Ex-Im fully functioning as soon as possible,” said Senator Sherrod Brown, Democrat of Ohio. The Senate majority leader, Mitch McConnell, and “the full Senate should immediately confirm the bipartisan nominees so we can continue to support American businesses, manufacturing and jobs.”

Action does not appear to be forthcoming. An aide to Mr. McConnell said that votes on Mr. Trump’s other nominees would not be held until he names a new chairman.

For now, Ex-Im is ambling along. Veterans of the bank say that career employees are increasingly heading for the exits. Atop the bank’s website is an image of its boardroom, with five empty chairs.

This week, Ex-Im will hold its annual conference in Washington, but considering the circumstances, the gathering is unlikely to be a festive event.

“Who are you going to get to speak?” Mr. Hochberg wondered. “I want to know what they are going to say.”

Continue reading the main story

With Choice of New Director, the Met Gets a Scholar and a Showman


“You fulfill your programmatic ideas and then you do everything you can to find the funding to make that happen,” Mr. Hollein said in an interview at the Met.

A ‘Think Big’ Coach

This ability to strike a balance between art and business was a skill Mr. Hollein learned from Mr. Krens at the Guggenheim.

Mr. Hollein met Mr. Krens through his father, the prominent postmodern architect Hans Hollein, whom the Guggenheim had tapped for a branch in Salzburg that ultimately never materialized.

Photo

The young Max Hollein, background, left, grew up in a creative household and attended the opening of the Museum Abteiberg in 1982 with his father, Hans Hollein, the building’s architect, and Joseph Beuys, the German conceptual artist. “My parents would have loved me to be an artist,” he said last week, “but I had no talent for that or inclination.”

Credit
Udo Dewies

“You became part of the family,” Mr. Krens said. “We had a close relationship.”

Growing up in a creative household (his mother Helene was a fashion designer), Mr. Hollein became conversant in the art world and interacted with leading figures like Joseph Beuys and Claes Oldenburg. When Andy Warhol went to Vienna in the 1980s for a show of his late large-scale silk-screens, 12-year-old Max got the artist to sign every single page of Warhol’s exhibition catalog.

“Contemporary artists for other students were these out-of-this-world figures,” Mr. Hollein said. “For me, it was a friends and family background.”

Photo

Hans Hollein, the Pritzker Prize-winning architect, in 1988 with a proposal (never built) for a suite of buildings that would have integrated Mies van der Rohe’s Nationalgalerie in Berlin.

Credit
Günter Peters/ullstein bild, via Getty Images

When Max had to do a report on an artist at school, other students chose subjects like van Gogh and Monet; Mr. Hollein said he chose Naum Gabo, the Russian avant-garde sculptor.

“My parents would have loved me to be an artist,” he added, “but I had no talent for that or inclination.”

Mr. Hollein’s sister, Lilli Hollein, the director of Vienna Design Week, said her brother’s business instincts were apparent early on. “He once developed a game that had an economic background,” she said. “It was played with farm animals and people, and you had to buy cattle and stuff and then sell it.”

At the University of Vienna he studied under Konrad Oberhuber, an eminent scholar of drawings, and Hermann Fillitz, who directed Vienna’s Kunsthistorisches Museum — but also, “as a revolution against my parents,” studied business.

When Max was 21, he came to New York to work as an intern at the Guggenheim and Mr. Krens invited him to return for a job after completing his education. He ultimately became Mr. Krens’s chief of staff and executive assistant, working closely on projects like the Guggenheim branch designed by Frank Gehry in Bilbao, Spain.

Photo

Thomas Krens, then the director of the Guggenheim Foundation, in Bilbao, Spain, in 1997. As his chief of staff and executive assistant, Mr. Hollein watched Mr. Krens plan the export of the Guggenheim to Bilbao and other cities.

Credit
Eric Vandeville/Gamma-Rapho, via Getty Images

“The reason that Max is so multifaceted and has had so many great opportunities in life has a lot to do with Tom Krens,” said Lisa Dennison, chairman of Sotheby’s Americas division, and a former director of the Guggenheim, who overlapped with Mr. Hollein. “Tom gave Max opportunities — he was building museums, he was thinking about technology and he told Max to think big.”

After five-and-a-half years at the Guggenheim, Mr. Hollein told Mr. Krens, “I have to leave here because I risk becoming a copy of you.”

What he took from Mr. Krens, Mr. Hollein said, was that he could push an ambitious agenda until the pieces fell into place and naysayers came around.

“One must not forget the success of Bilbao,” Mr. Hollein said, by way of example. “Two years before it opened there were large amounts of people who thought it would be a huge failure.”

Returning to Europe, Mr. Hollein imported the strategies and techniques he’d learned in New York. “He has this mixture of the European and the American know-how, and that’s a very rare thing,” said Renée Price, the director of the Neue Galerie and a fellow Vienna native.

In 2001, after impressing Frankfurt’s mayor, Petra Roth, at a dinner in New York, Mr. Hollein was named director of that city’s Schirn Kunsthalle, a non-collecting institution with such low attendance that local politicians were arguing for its closure.

Mr. Hollein quickly whipped it into shape, and was savvy about sponsorships, getting private corporations to help pay for exhibitions of Yves Klein and Pablo Picasso.

Attendance surged, and hipsters in Berlin began to take note of the upheaval underway in sleepy, big-money Frankfurt. By 2010, the weekly newspaper Die Zeit had called the Schirn “the most exciting exhibition hall in Germany.”

Ambitions Beyond the Rhine

Mr. Hollein was soon invited by trustees to take the director’s post at the Städel foundation, a more venerable institution, and home to one of Germany’s best collections of medieval, Renaissance and Baroque painting. He agreed to take the post, as well as the directorship of the neighboring Liebieghaus sculpture museum under a surprising condition: that he keep the Schirn as well.

This struck some as a power grab, and in Germany, a country whose citizens stick their academic titles on every surface, Mr. Hollein’s lack of a doctorate in art history caused additional concern.

Eventually, Mr. Hollein’s efforts began to speak for themselves. At the Städel, he helped expand the collection to include 20th- and 21st-century art by brokering unusual long-term loans with two German banks — Deutsche Bank and DZ Bank AG — that allowed the museum to retain the works in perpetuity.

Exhibitions of Cranach, Botticelli and Monet attracted hundreds of thousands of visitors. An ambitious digital program — including art history video lectures in German and English — brought international attention to what was once a museum of only regional influence.

And at both museums, Mr. Hollein indulged his abiding passion for electronic music. At the Schirn, he backed exhibitions featuring experimental composers like Carsten Nicolai and Ryoji Ikeda; at the Städel, during a 2012 exhibition of Romantic and Symbolist painting, he invited the public to dance until 2 a.m. to D.J.s from the Berlin nightclub circuit.

Mr. Hollein’s progress gained attention on the other side of the Rhine. In 2013, he emerged as the odds-on favorite to become director of France’s leading modern art museum, the Pompidou Center in Paris.

Photo

Max Hollein and his wife Nina, an architect turned fashion designer, in San Francisco on March 1.

Credit
Drew Altizer

“Max, in Frankfurt, had been committed to very strong temporary exhibitions — blockbuster shows as well as more scholarly, researched, niche shows,” said Alain Seban, who was the Pompidou’s president from 2007 to 2015. He praised Mr. Hollein’s “capability to make the whole curatorial team participate in an exhibition strategy for the museum. And perhaps, considering the current situation of the Met, it’s something that he might have to do there as well.”

Mr. Seban would continue to hold the top job — a situation that closely parallels Mr. Hollein’s new arrangement at the Met, where he will report to Daniel H. Weiss, the Met’s president and chief executive.

Yet leaks to the French press damaged his Pompidou candidacy, particularly reports that his requested salary was three times higher than expected. Mr. Hollein withdrew before the final selection. (The job went to Bernard Blistène, a Pompidou veteran.)

In his Met interview, Mr. Hollein said he felt that the French government couldn’t give him the freedom he needed to make significant strides.

“I draw a lot of energy where I feel I can move the institution forward,” he said, adding: “It clearly was not the money.”

Some people in the art world were surprised to see Mr. Hollein take the job in San Francisco, in part because of its powerful board president, Diane B. Wilsey, who has a reputation for being loath to relinquish control of the Fine Arts Museums.

Ms. Wilsey, 74, ceded the chief executive title after the museums paid a $2 million settlement to a former high-ranking executive who said Ms. Wilsey had her ousted for revealing alleged museum misspending.

But both Mr. Hollein and Ms. Wilsey said they have had a very productive working relationship. “He pushes the staff, but they like it,” Ms. Wilsey said in a telephone interview. “They’re energized by his energy and intelligence and ambitions.”

Indeed, Mr. Hollein managed to make an impact during his short tenure at the museum, balancing the budget and initiating shows like “Contemporary Muslim Fashions,” which is set to open in September. (Breitbart News Daily questioned whether it was “a celebration of subjugation.”)

Continue reading the main story

James Comey vs. President Trump. How It Came to This.


An inauguration and a termination

Here is a timeline of Mr. Comey’s short tenure as F.B.I. director under Mr. Trump.

Mr. Comey met the president-elect for the first time in January 2017, during an intelligence briefing about Russian meddling in the election. In meetings and conversations afterward, Mr. Comey has said, the president tried in vain to secure his loyalty.

Photo

James Comey with President Trump at the White House in January 2017. Mr. Comey told a friend he had hoped Mr. Trump would not spot him at the event.

Credit
Pool photo by Andrew Harrer

In March 2017, Mr. Comey confirmed that the F.B.I. was investigating Russian links to the Trump campaign. He later said the president repeatedly asked him to say publicly what he had said privately: that Mr. Trump was not personally under investigation.

Two months later, Mr. Comey testified on Capitol Hill to defend reopening the Clinton investigation in 2016. A memorable quote: “It makes me mildly nauseous to think that we might have had some impact on the election.”

On May 9, 2017, Mr. Trump fired Mr. Comey.

Video

Times Reporters Decode the Trump-Comey Saga

The New York Times reporters Peter Baker, Maggie Haberman and Matthew Rosenberg analyze the firing of the F.B.I. director, James B. Comey.


By A.J. CHAVAR on Publish Date May 11, 2017.


.

Watch in Times Video »

But let justice roll down like waters

For Mr. Comey, getting fired was in some ways like being freed.

He started tweeting under his own name in 2017. He shared quotes about leadership. He posted photos, often of nature and sometimes including himself, towering and pensive in bucolic landscapes.

Mr. Trump grew bolder in criticizing Mr. Comey, calling him a “showboat,” a “nut job” and, more recently, an “untruthful slime ball.” The president’s stated reasons for firing the F.B.I. director have been inconsistent.

Five Contradictions in the White House’s Story About Comey’s Firing

The Trump administration has offered conflicting answers about how and why the F.B.I. director, James Comey, was fired.


In June, Mr. Comey discussed the president at length at a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing. It was quite an event.

In testimony that was plain-spoken but forceful, he accused Mr. Trump of lying, defaming the F.B.I. and trying to derail an investigation.

Video

Highlights From Comey’s Testimony

James B. Comey, the former F.B.I. director, testified before the Senate Intelligence Committee.


By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS on Publish Date June 8, 2017.


Photo by Doug Mills/The New York Times.

Watch in Times Video »

Mr. Comey has now written a memoir, “A Higher Loyalty” Here is our review. It describes Mr. Trump as “unethical, and untethered to truth,” compares the president to a mafia boss and wonders about his reasons for refusing to acknowledge Russia’s attempts to meddle in the election.

The book is set to be released on Tuesday.

Continue reading the main story

James Comey vs. President Trump. How It Came to This.


An inauguration and a termination

Here is a timeline of Mr. Comey’s short tenure as F.B.I. director under Mr. Trump.

Mr. Comey met the president-elect for the first time in January 2017, during an intelligence briefing about Russian meddling in the election. In meetings and conversations afterward, Mr. Comey has said, the president tried in vain to secure his loyalty.

Photo

James Comey with President Trump at the White House in January 2017. Mr. Comey told a friend he had hoped Mr. Trump would not spot him at the event.

Credit
Pool photo by Andrew Harrer

In March 2017, Mr. Comey confirmed that the F.B.I. was investigating Russian links to the Trump campaign. He later said the president repeatedly asked him to say publicly what he had said privately: that Mr. Trump was not personally under investigation.

Two months later, Mr. Comey testified on Capitol Hill to defend reopening the Clinton investigation in 2016. A memorable quote: “It makes me mildly nauseous to think that we might have had some impact on the election.”

On May 9, 2017, Mr. Trump fired Mr. Comey.

Video

Times Reporters Decode the Trump-Comey Saga

The New York Times reporters Peter Baker, Maggie Haberman and Matthew Rosenberg analyze the firing of the F.B.I. director, James B. Comey.


By A.J. CHAVAR on Publish Date May 11, 2017.


.

Watch in Times Video »

But let justice roll down like waters

For Mr. Comey, getting fired was in some ways like being freed.

He started tweeting under his own name in 2017. He shared quotes about leadership. He posted photos, often of nature and sometimes including himself, towering and pensive in bucolic landscapes.

Mr. Trump grew bolder in criticizing Mr. Comey, calling him a “showboat,” a “nut job” and, more recently, an “untruthful slime ball.” The president’s stated reasons for firing the F.B.I. director have been inconsistent.

Five Contradictions in the White House’s Story About Comey’s Firing

The Trump administration has offered conflicting answers about how and why the F.B.I. director, James Comey, was fired.


In June, Mr. Comey discussed the president at length at a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing. It was quite an event.

In testimony that was plain-spoken but forceful, he accused Mr. Trump of lying, defaming the F.B.I. and trying to derail an investigation.

Video

Highlights From Comey’s Testimony

James B. Comey, the former F.B.I. director, testified before the Senate Intelligence Committee.


By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS on Publish Date June 8, 2017.


Photo by Doug Mills/The New York Times.

Watch in Times Video »

Mr. Comey has now written a memoir, “A Higher Loyalty” Here is our review. It describes Mr. Trump as “unethical, and untethered to truth,” compares the president to a mafia boss and wonders about his reasons for refusing to acknowledge Russia’s attempts to meddle in the election.

The book is set to be released on Tuesday.

Continue reading the main story

Trump Calls Comey ‘Untruthful Slime Ball’ as Book Details Released


Photo

James B. Comey spoke at a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing last year.

Credit
Al Drago/The New York Times

WASHINGTON — President Trump, in a pair of tweets on Friday, called the former F.B.I. director-turned-tell-all author James B. Comey an “untruthful slime ball” and a “proven LEAKER & LIAR,” and said it was “my great honor to fire” him, a day after excerpts from Mr. Comey’s book were shared ahead of its release next week.

In the book, Mr. Comey writes, “This president is unethical, and untethered to truth and institutional values.”

The insult slinging has officially begun, and neither Mr. Trump nor Mr. Comey minced their words.

Mr. Trump’s face appeared “slightly orange, with bright white half-moons under his eyes where I assumed he placed small tanning goggles,” Mr. Comey writes.

Mr. Comey is “weak,” and was a “terrible Director,” Mr. Trump said.

Mr. Trump fired Mr. Comey in May of last year, a decision that eventually led to the appointment of a special counsel to investigate Russia’s 2016 election meddling and whether Mr. Trump has deliberately tried to obstruct the investigation.

The former F.B.I. chief’s much-anticipated 304-page memoir, “A Higher Loyalty: Truth, Lies and Leadership,” is scheduled to be released next week. ABC’s “20/20” is set to air an interview with Mr. Comey on Sunday. It is the first major memoir by one of the key characters in the Trump administration.

Continue reading the main story

Volkswagen’s New C.E.O. Is an Outsider. That’s an Asset, and a Liability.


And Volkswagen indicated it would prepare its truck and bus divisions for possible sale on the stock market, a major departure after decades of empire building by previous chief executives.

Until recently, bigness for its own sake was essential to Volkswagen’s identity. The company’s unique culture is pervasive not only within its vast factory complex but also in the city of 125,000 across a barge canal. Volkswagen is Wolfsburg’s dominant employer, the main source of tax revenue, even the owner of the local professional soccer team.

Status at the company automatically brings status in the community. License plates issued for company cars include letter codes — understood by everyone in Wolfsburg — that signify whether the driver is a high-ranking Volkswagen manager or even a manager’s spouse.

Volkswagen’s deeply embedded, conformist ethos was seen as a proximate cause of the scandal. It was why no one challenged the managers who devised illegal software to cover up excess engine emissions, and why no one reported the wrongdoing to any outside authorities for nearly a decade.

Photo

Matthias Müller, the company’s former chief executive, denied knowledge of illegal software that evaded emissions standards but held high-ranking positions when it was developed.

Credit
Harold Cunningham/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Changing the culture is one of Mr. Diess’s primary tasks. It is effectively a condition of the agreement Volkswagen made with United States authorities to settle civil and criminal actions stemming from the emissions wrongdoing. Volkswagen is required to establish a stronger whistle-blower system, and ensure that employees believe they can use it.

“Culture is certainly the most difficult task for Diess,” said Ferdinand Dudenhöffer, a professor at the University of Duisburg-Essen who follows the car industry.

Mr. Müller took over in late 2015 after the scandal became public, but lately seemed to lose momentum. He had expressed frustration with how long it was taking for Volkswagen to move past the scandal.

Mr. Diess won favor with the Porsche and Piëch families, who own a majority of Volkswagen’s voting shares, by improving profits at the division that makes Volkswagen-brand cars despite a decline in the number of vehicles sold.

“He has demonstrated to impressive effect the speed and rigor with which he can implement radical transformation,” Hans Dieter Pötsch, the chairman of the Volkswagen supervisory board and a confidant of the Porsche family, said in a statement.

But Mr. Dudenhöffer noted that Mr. Diess will still have to contend with the extraordinary power that Volkswagen workers and local politicians exert over strategy.

The State of Lower Saxony owns 20 percent of the company and has two representatives on the supervisory board. Worker representatives have another 10 seats on the 20-person board, meaning that unions and the state government together control the company.

“There is no balance of power in the supervisory board,” Mr. Dudenhöffer said.

In a demonstration of worker power, the supervisory board on Thursday also named a high-ranking labor representative, Gunnar Kilian, as head of personnel. The board-level position includes responsibility for negotiations with unions.

In another major change, Francisco Javier García Sanz, a Spaniard who has been the board member in charge of procurement since 2001, will retire. Mr. García Sanz exemplified Volkswagen’s preference for managers with a long record of loyalty.

Worker control helps explain why people in Wolfsburg identify so strongly with Volkswagen. But it will also make it difficult for Mr. Diess to reduce the work force, a move considered essential if Volkswagen is to become as efficient as its biggest rival, Toyota.

The Wolfsburg system has defeated outsiders in the past. The last time Volkswagen had a chief executive who had not spent nearly all his career at the company was when Bernd Pischetsrieder, like Mr. Diess a former BMW manager, took over in 2002. Mr. Pischetsrieder was pushed out after about four years.

Continue reading the main story

The Met Goes Beyond Its Doors to Pick a Leader Who Bridges Art and Technology


Unlike his recent predecessors Philippe de Montebello, who served for 31 years, and Thomas P. Campbell, who served for eight, Mr. Hollein did not ascend from the Met’s curatorial ranks. He was reportedly a runner-up when Mr. Campbell was chosen in 2008.

But he was an appealing candidate this time around for a museum seeking a stabilizing force after a period of financial turmoil. He is an aggressive fund-raiser with experience in contemporary art as well as a broader knowledge of art history, who has a track record of digital innovations.

Since age 31, Mr. Hollein has served as a museum director, including 15 years at several institutions in Frankfurt: the Städel Museum, which houses one of Europe’s important collections of old masters; the Schirn Kunsthalle, which exhibits modern and contemporary art; and the Liebieghaus, with a world-renowned sculpture collection.

Photo

The Met last month started charging $25 admission to visitors from outside New York State.

Credit
Amy Lombard for The New York Times

At the Städel, Mr. Hollein developed a forceful digital strategy and oversaw a $69 million renovation and expansion that doubled the gallery space and created a new wing for art made since 1945. All three museums during his tenure saw record levels of attendance and added more than 2,800 artworks to their collections.

He only recently moved to the United States, in 2016, to head the Fine Arts Museums, consisting of the de Young Museum in Golden Gate Park, which specializes in American art; and the Legion of Honor near the foot of the Golden Gate Bridge, which focuses on European art.

In his two years in San Francisco, Mr. Hollein has brought significant innovations to the Fine Arts Museums, including Digital Stories, an in-depth look into the museum’s exhibitions, enhanced by multimedia experiences. The museum translated all exhibition materials into Spanish for its exhibition “Teotihuacan: City of Water, City of Fire”; created a Minecraft map of the pyramids; and offered free online courses to help encourage access for all audiences — not only the young.

At a time when museums are making a concerted effort to expand the cultural conversation to include more women and people of color, Mr. Hollein said it was also important to him that the Met “open up” to incorporate a range of perspectives. He cited his current institution’s acquisition last year of 62 works by African-American artists, from the Souls Grown Deep Foundation in Atlanta, which was featured in a show that closed April 1. (The Met acquired 57 works from the foundation in 2014, some of which go on view in an exhibition that opens May 22).

“Max is a formidable intellect — he has a very strong capacity to engage issues at a high level,” said Daniel H. Weiss, the president and chief executive of the Met. “We are going to be genuine partners.”

Many in the art world had wondered whether the Met director job would draw first-rate candidates, given the museum’s recent reorganization of its leadership structure. Rather than governing from the top of the pyramid, like Mr. Campbell, who also served as chief executive before he was forced to step down last year, Mr. Hollein will report to Mr. Weiss, who retains the chief executive title. Though both will have responsibility for fund-raising, Mr. Hollein will be in charge of the artistic side of the museum — exhibitions, acquisitions, programming — while Mr. Weiss will oversee business and operations.

Nevertheless, the position drew strong contenders, according to a person familiar with the selection process who declined to be identified discussing internal deliberations. Among the finalists were Adam D. Weinberg, the director of the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York; Julián Zugazagoitia, the chief executive and director of the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City, Mo.; Emilie Gordenker, the director of the Mauritshuis, the museum in The Hague; Timothy Rub, the director of the Philadelphia Museum of Art; and Taco Dibbits, the director of the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam.

Still, the selection of Mr. Hollein could lead to complaints that the Met had again chosen a white man for the top job.

“The museum’s commitment to diversity is evident in everything we do, and the search was no exception to that,” said Candace K. Beinecke, a board member who led its search committee with Richard Chilton.

The Met would not disclose Mr. Hollein’s salary. As director and chief executive, Mr. Campbell’s total compensation was $1.4 million, including a salary of $942,287 and the use of a Fifth Avenue apartment, which the Met plans to sell, according to recent tax records. Mr. Campbell was forced out in the wake of the museum’s financial problems and low morale, departing amid revelations about a close personal relationship he had with a female staff member.

Photo

Daniel H. Weiss, the president and chief executive of the Met in the museum’s Greek and Roman Galleries. Mr. Hollein, as director, will report to him. (His predecessor, Thomas P. Campbell, held director and C.E.O. titles.)

Credit
Joshua Bright for The New York Times

To right its finances, the Met cut staff, improved its retail operations and recently started charging non-New Yorkers mandatory admission of $25.

The museum also scaled back plans for its new modern and contemporary wing, initially expected to cost $600 million. Mr. Hollein will have to raise money for that reconceived project as many cultural projects are vying for funds, namely the Museum of Modern Art’s $400 million expansion; the Studio Museum in Harlem’s $175 million new home; the Frick Collection’s $160 million redesign; and Geffen Hall’s renovation, initially estimated at more than $500 million.

Although European museum directors are typically assumed to require fewer fund-raising skills, given government support for the arts, that is changing. Mr. Hollein said he raised half the cost of the Städel extension from private donations, an impressive feat and unusual for Germany, where large cultural projects are mostly state funded.

A 2014 article on the German website Deutsche Welle said Mr. Hollein “manages to walk the line between art and commerce,” citing for example the Städel’s partnership with the German drugstore chain DM, which sells art pieces as prints for people’s living rooms.

Some have accused Mr. Hollein of going too far; in 2012, he was forced to defend the museum against accusations that he had turned the acquisition of a Raphael painting of Pope Julius II — with questionable provenance — into “a mass public spectacle.” Mr. Hollein said at the time: “We knew that the attribution was going to be controversial. That’s why it was so important for us to not simply hang it in the museum, but to present all the facts we had gleaned over the years. I don’t see this as sensationalist, but rather as a very open and transparent process.”

Nevertheless, the Met job will be a learning curve for Mr. Hollein, who began his career at the Guggenheim Museum as the chief of staff and executive assistant to its former director, Thomas Krens, but who has never led a museum in New York. The Met can be something of a shark tank, requiring a constructive working relationship with its powerful curators.

The Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco receive a healthy 1.6 million visitors, but that pales in comparison to the Met’s 7 million visitors across its three locations, including the Met Breuer, the Cloisters and its Fifth Avenue flagship. In San Francisco, Mr. Hollein managed an operating budget of $60 million and over 500 employees; the Met has a budget of $305 million and a staff of 2,200.

Mr. Hollein grew up in an artistic household, the son of Hans Hollein, the Viennese architect. Mr. Hollein studied art history at the University of Vienna and business administration at the Vienna University of Economics.

As a curator, he specialized in art of the 1980s and ’90s, and organized exhibitions that included the American pavilion at the Venice Architecture Biennale in 2000 and the Austrian pavilion at the Venice Art Biennale in 2005.

While running the de Young in San Francisco, Mr. Hollein added its first contemporary art curator. The museum’s first major show since his arrival, “Contemporary Muslim Fashion,” opening in September, will explore Muslim dress codes and their influence on fashion worldwide. (Mr. Hollein’s wife, Nina Hollein, is an Austrian clothing designer; they have three teenagers.)

“On the one hand it’s a fashion show, on the other hand it will address complex social, political questions,” Mr. Hollein said. “Museums these days are one of the few areas where you can have a complex cultural discussion in a non-polemical way.”

Continue reading the main story

Volkswagen Considers Replacing Chief Executive After Diesel Scandal


Photo

Matthias Müller, center, has spent his whole career at Volkswagen and became chief executive after the company admitted in September 2015 that it had cheated on diesel emissions tests.

Credit
Sean Gallup/Getty Images

FRANKFURT — Volkswagen said on Tuesday that it was considering replacing Matthias Müller as chief executive as it grapples with a long-running diesel emissions scandal that has cost it billions of dollars, led to the imprisonment of two executives, and scarred the German carmaker’s reputation.

Mr. Müller, who took over after the company admitted in September 2015 that it had cheated on diesel emissions tests, has steadfastly denied any knowledge of the deception. The scandal involved the installation of illegal software in 11 million Volkswagen diesels, playing a major role in creating a serious air pollution problem in Europe.

Mr. Müller, an auto manager of the old school who spent his entire career at Volkswagen and its subsidiaries, struggled to move the company beyond the scandal, which was costly both to its reputation and to its bottom line.

And while he insisted he had no knowledge of the cheating, he was a high-ranking executive involved in product development at the same time that Audi and Volkswagen were concocting the illegal software and deploying it in vehicles. Mr. Müller also worked closely with some of the people under investigation over possible involvement in the emissions cheating conspiracy.

Engineering a Deception: What Led to Volkswagen’s Diesel Scandal

In September 2015, Volkswagen was accused of evading emissions standards in the U.S. The scandal has hit the company hard.


In a statement, Volkswagen said it was considering “a further development of the management structure of the group,” which could “include a change in the position of the chairman of the board of management.”

The scandal, and Volkswagen’s continued vulnerability to it, came into renewed focus after The New York Times reported in January that the company had helped to finance experiments on monkeys in a bungled attempt to show that exhaust from modern diesels was benign.

Continue reading the main story

Imagining a World After Anna


Still, the award helped spawn a host of similar prizes around the world and created a pathway to market for emerging designers. Ms. Wintour’s understanding of the mutually beneficial exploitation that could result from putting the star of a new film on the cover of a magazine, and all the tertiary events involved, was just as formative, changing the Hollywood/fashion calculus, as well as the model/actress cover star ratio, which now heavily favors the celebrity — even the nascent celebrity.

She also realigned the philanthropic poles of New York via the Met Gala, turning a generic opportunity for cultural beneficence into an “A.T.M. for the Met” that raised so much money that it got her name etched on the Costume Institute door. In the process she made the gala a paparazzi magnet, which gave rise to a special issue of Vogue, thanks to her vetting of guests, dictating which brand got which celebrity, and the Vogue-orchestrated dressing of attendees so that much of the red carpet is composed of the people she wants, wearing what she wants, hoping to be in the pages she approves.

Then she began to extend that formula, or versions of it, into other arenas (Broadway, with the Tony Awards, for one).

What would happen to all of that if Vogue ceased to be her base is unclear. A triangular relationship (Anna-brand-star) may once again become a two-way street. Celebrities and socialites may have to choose their clothes without her guidance. It could be traumatic at first — mistakes would be made! — but it’s kind of an interesting idea. As for us … well, at the most basic level, we would all have to redefine our ideas of what a fashion magazine editor is.

Bob wearers everywhere would lose their most visible icon. The whole dark-glasses-at-the-runway trope could disappear. While many of Ms. Wintour’s peers have style, it is impossible to think of another who took it to the same calculated, rigorous extreme. She is certainly the only editor since Diana Vreeland who has parlayed her public persona into a pop culture character, but unlike Ms. Vreeland, she now regularly plays herself in not just documentaries but also feature films, as opposed to letting others play her.

Photo

Ms. Wintour at the Condé Nast Building in New York in 1989.

Credit
Ron Galella, Ltd./WireImage

And, of course, tennis could lose one of its most high-profile boosters.

It is a singular job description, probably impossible to replicate, in part because fashion has become as splintered as every other industry in the age of digital and identity politics. Her hold, and the idea of a single person or magazine as the ultimate arbiter of style, may be as much a vestige of the former world as print itself.

So Why Is This Rumor Trending Now?

Certain macro trends and a conjunction of events have given the gossip momentum.

Magazines in general are widely acknowledged to be struggling: Condé Nast has closed the print versions of Teen Vogue and Self as part of drive to emphasize digital; cut the number of print issues of W; and reorganized the company so that some staffers work on several different magazines. S. I. Newhouse Jr., the long-term chairman of the company and one of Ms. Wintour’s champions, died last year (he became chairman emeritus in 2015).

Reports of Harvey Weinstein’s sexual misconduct broke the same month as Mr. Newhouse’s death, and Mr. Weinstein’s friendship and working relationship with Ms. Wintour came under scrutiny. Later she had to cut ties with three of Vogue’s favored photographers — Bruce Weber, Mario Testino and Patrick Demarchelier — when allegations of a history of sexual harassment became public.

Of the three most formative Vogue editors in recent decades, all of whom started around the same time, she is the last still working: Franca Sozzani, the editor of Italian Vogue, who was hired the same week as Ms. Wintour, died in December 2016; Alexandra Shulman, the former editor of British Vogue, stepped down in January 2017. And this year will be Ms. Wintour’s 30th at the Vogue helm, and anniversaries are such classic watersheds.

There have been rumors around for a while that she was interested in a final career. At least since the Obama administration, when Ms. Wintour’s role as a highly effective “bundler” gave rise to much speculation that she was interested in an ambassadorship, either to France or to Britain.

Continue reading the main story