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About the Authors

David Lax and James Sebenius are intellectual leaders in the field of negotiation who combine decades of high-level, practical experience negotiating in the corporate, financial, and diplomatic realms with academic expertise that helped develop much of the modern field of negotiation.

Professor Sebenius is the first Gordon Donaldson Professor at Harvard Business School and a member of the Executive Committee that oversees the activities of the Program on Negotiation at Harvard Law School.  David Lax, described by Forbes magazine as a "new negotiation theorist" on the cutting edge of his field, served as a professor at Harvard Business School from 1981-1989.

Lax and Sebenius co-founded the Negotiation Roundtable, a working research group sponsored by Harvard Business School and the Kennedy School of Government, and Sebenius currently serves as its Director. 

Photo by David Schafer

Lax and Sebenius are co-authors of The Manager as Negotiator, an established textbook at many leading graduate schools. They developed and teach Strategic Negotiation, the first seminar on negotiation for top executives offered by the Harvard Business School.  They are authors of numerous articles on negotiation in the Harvard Business Review and elsewhere.  Sebenius is also author of Negotiating the Law of the Sea and co-editor of Wise Decisions

Lax Sebenius LLC, the consulting firm that they founded and run, has advised numerous of companies on mergers, divestitures, auctions, large commercial transactions, and the creation and restructuring of strategic alliances and joint ventures, outsourcing and distribution contracts and large sales large commercial contracts.

Lax Sebenius LLC works with companies to build their capability to negotiate more effectively through highly customized training, coaching and process change in areas such as sales negotiation, business development, mergers and acquisitions, exploration and production negotiations, and purchasing.  The firm’s efforts have contributed to the creation of billions of dollars of value for these clients.  The firm has also represented governments and acted as advisors in significant international negotiations. 

Clients of the firm include American Express, AT&T, Boston Consulting Group, Bombardier, Capital One, Credit Suisse, Delta Airlines, Diageo, Ericsson, Estee Lauder, First Data Corporation, Government of Indonesia, Hewlett Packard, IBM, Kuwait Petroleum Corporation, HSBC, McKesson, Marakon Associates, Novartis, Partners HealthCare, PCCW, Petroleos de Venezuela, Rhodia, Schering-Plough, Schlumberger, Shell, Southern Company, Telstra, Time Warner ,UBS, Vodafone, Verizon, and the World Bank. 

Text Box: [Lax Sebenius’s] style and methodology is on the cutting edge of what is needed when you are number one in your field and working to maintain that position in a highly competitive global business climate. Our company and the executives therein have been given the tools required to achieve that end objective.  -- Phebe Farrow Port, Acting President, Stila Cosmetics, Vice President, Worldwide Retail Sales Development, Estée Lauder, Inc., Dean, The Estée Lauder Companies at Vassar College, Dean, The Estée Lauder Companies at Oxford University  In addition to corporate advisory work, Lax  and Sebenius have worked with a variety of governments involved in various kinds of disputes.  Additional information about the firm and its principals can be found at www.negotiate.com

Prior to founding Lax Sebenius, both principals spent time on Wall Street and elsewhere negotiating deals.  Sebenius left Harvard in the mid-1980s to work full-time for investment banker Peter G. Peterson, co-founder with Stephen Schwarzman of the New York-based Blackstone Group, now one of the world's leading merchant banking and private equity firms. For several years following Blackstone's launch, Sebenius worked closely with Peterson and Schwarzman, initially as vice president, and later as Special Adviser to the firm after returning to Harvard.

In its first year, Blackstone announced transactions valued at over $11 billion and advised over a dozen major corporate clients on a wide variety of financial and strategic negotiations including mergers and acquisitions, joint ventures, recapitalizations, and divestitures.  Blackstone is now among the largest private equity firms in the world. 

Sebenius also worked as Elliot Richardson's assistant on the U.S. delegation to the Law of the Sea treaty, was elected as a term member of the Council on Foreign Relations. 

From 1989-1992, he served as advisor to the Select Automotive Panel, a joint U.S.-Canadian body, established following the U.S. Canadian Free Trade Agreement to deal with outstanding auto trade issues; the Panel consisted of the heads of the three major auto companies, the heads of the United Auto Workers and the Canadian Auto Workers, as well as numerous auto industry representatives. He was also a member of the Auto Parts Advisory Committee, United States Department of Commerce (appointed by the Secretary of Commerce in 1990).

Educated at Vanderbilt, Stanford and Harvard, Sebenius holds a doctorate in business economics.  James Sebenius can be reached at jsebenius@hbs.edu.

Lax current serves as Managing Principal of Lax Sebenius LLC, where he manages the firm’s major advisory engagements and supervises the capability-building engagements.  He is active all over the world advising major companies and governments in complex or challenging negotiations.

Upon leaving the Harvard Business School full-time faculty, Lax served as an investment banker representing labor unions and as a merchant banker at First City Capital Corporation, where he was involved in transactions such as venture capital, acquisitions, leveraged buyouts, joint ventures, privatizations, and financings. He also served as Vice President of ICF Kaiser Engineers in its American Venture Investments subsidiary. Lax has also started two investment management companies and sits on the board of a privately held health care company and is chairman of the board of a privately held oil and gas company. 

Educated at Princeton, Stanford and Harvard, Lax holds a doctorate in statistics.  David Lax can be reached at lax@negotiate.com


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"3-D Negotiation is a brilliant and rigorous exposition of key bargaining strategy techniques from two masters of negotiation. Building on their previous reputation, the authors analyze recent corporate and diplomatic experience to provide new insights into the field. I have used their advice to great success in the complex health care environment."

- Paul F. Levy, CEO, Beth Israel Deaconness Medical Center

 

 

 

"[Lax Sebenius’s] style and methodology is on the cutting edge of what is needed when you are number one in your field and working to maintain that position in a highly competitive global business climate. Our company and the executives therein have been given the tools required to achieve that end objective."

- Phebe Farrow Port,
Acting President, Stila Cosmetics, Vice President, Worldwide Retail Sales Development, Estée Lauder, Inc., Dean, The Estée Lauder Companies at Vassar College,
Dean, The Estée Lauder
Companies at Oxford University

 

 

 

 


 

 


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